Nothing changes by itself

27 may – 28 january 2024

This exhibition is a selection of Lagerstam’s and Selberg’s own photographs from half a century of climate activism and resistance: ”With our pictures we want to show that it is possible to influence change and that it is possible to succeed”. The exhibition includes some examples of the causes they have engaged with: The Kalix River was saved from hydropower dams after years of fighting for this with the
support of many people. Kamlungekölen, near Morjärv in Kalix municipality, was saved in the 1980s from becoming Sweden’s dumping ground for high-level radioactive waste. The same issue was raised in the 1990s in the municipality of Överkalix, where the resistance was also successful. Another example is the Folkets Hus in Morjärv that was saved from the municipality’s plans for demolition through outstanding voluntary efforts and was then turn into a culture house.

Lena and Bernt believe it is vital to get involved, “a lot can be done in both the small and the large with the help of volunteers. We believe that culture and cultural heritage are of great value. It is possible to influence, and it is possible to succeed”. Their photo exhibition is dedicated to all those who fight in different ways – often in secret, for a better tomorrow.

They have work together with many others for the environmental movement, they have taken the initiative to form many groups engaged in different causes and have spent a lot of time on voluntary work, organizing meetings, demonstrations, music and cultural events to collect signatures. Writing letters, press releases, petitions and opinion pieces, and have joined forces with like-minded organizations and experts in different fields: “it is often difficult and hard, but fighting together brings a lot of joy and fellowship”.

”Nothing changes by itself” is a song by Mikael Wiehe that has inspired them:

We were once of the same kind
We both believed in all the promises that were made
But the day passed and evening came
And nothing changed itself

It took time to see it clearly
That what we create is the only thing that comes true
We could have used your help
For nothing changes by itself

The time when we were born or the place where we live
The memories are no longer enough
No, it’s fighting for the same future and believing in the same goal
That allows us to say we belong together.

It’s getting late and I’m leaving
I never stop hoping that I’ll make you understand.
If something is to burn, it needs fire
Because nothing changes by itself

About the artists

Bernt Selberg and Lena Lagerstam, live on the outskirts of Morjärv in Kalix municipality in Norrbotten.

Bernt Selberg was born and raised in Morjärv. He is a musician, photo-grapher and filmmaker. Plays and sings as a solo troubadour or together with other musicians and bands. Has made many music videos and movies that are available on Youtube. Has also performed many times in Ortens Patrask together with Jörgen Wennström in the accordion.

Lena Lagerstam was born in Lund and grew up in Råneå. She is an architect with further education in archaeology, ethnology, data and digital image processing. Has worked for the Swedish National Heritage Board with ancient monument inventory and was employed at the County Administrative Board of Norrbotten from 1997 until her retirement in 2010. She has also worked as an antiquarian and managed
various projects, including Program for the preservation of the Sami cultural heritage, Regional environmental and management program for the mountains (Fjällprogrammet) and Norrbotten’s cultural environment program 2010 – 2020.

Exhibition view. Photo: Marcel Köppe.