Sustainable Cities and Communities – Seeing the World with Rauli Virtanen
22.4.2022 - 26.2.2023
More than half of the world’s inhabitants live in towns and cities. Urbanisation happens fast in developing countries. It is predicted that by the year 2050, two thirds of the people on this planet will be living in towns and cities. Rapid urbanisation brings new opportunities, but also great social, economic and environmental challenges.
As a foreign affairs reporter Rauli Virtanen has, since the 1970s, been providing Finns with reports on world events. On his many travels abroad, he has not only witnessed wars, crises and coups d’état but also considerable development and success.
A selection of images from Afghanistan, Nepal, Myanmar, Kenya and Ethiopia have been chosen from Virtanen’s extensive archive of photographs. The photographs take viewers into the Kibera slum in Nairobi, the streets of Kabul in Afghanistan, and to Lake Inle in Myanmar. All the photographs were taken in Finnish development cooperation-partner countries that he has visited several times. In all of these countries, the people’s tomorrow is now less secure due to the pandemic and political changes.
The exhibition focuses on people and their stories of survival. During his travels, Virtanen witnessed men and women in extremely difficult situations doing all they can to build a better future. ‘The persistence, faith in tomorrow and efforts made to give their children a better future that I have seen in the people I have met in various parts of the world have left an indelible mark on me.’
The exhibition was built around the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030) and was realized in cooperation with the UN Association of Finland. The exhibition was part of a two-year development communications and global education project financed by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. During the exhibition, there was guided tours and other events for schoolchildren, special-needs groups and the elderly, as well as for the general public.
Photo: Harvesting in the Mandalay region of Myanmar. Photo: Rauli Virtanen 2013