"Greetings From Kazakhstan" by Tomasz Padlo
Kazakhstan entered to the independence probably with the most damaged natural environment among the former federal states of the USSR. The excessive use of water from Syr Darya for irrigation of farmlands affected to the disappearance of the Aral Sea, plowing millions of hectares of chernozem, triggered wind erosion, which led to unprecedented degradation of soils, while the Semipalatinsk area became famous for nuclear tests and related contamination of the region. For years, the authorities have been trying to change the negative image of Kazakhstan, promoting; among others; its natural attractions. It takes a special form in Almaty, the former capital of the country, where many construction areas are decorated with sheets depicting landscapes of Kazakhstan. It creates a kind of dissonance with the perception of the country, as well as with the fact that actually Almaty is one of the most polluted cities in the world. Crumpled, dirty sheets say a little more about the country than the originators could have predicted.