statements on the Arctic
Artists are the great
observers of our world, and for centuries recorded images for
future generations to view.
Please read what each has to say. Click on image to read their
Amirault My trip to Canada's high Arctic
was multifaceted...like looking through a finely cut gem and seeing
the world's skeleton. The incredible reserved beauty of the landscape,
spectacular colour in the sea, sky and ice formations, breathtaking
animals existing the best they can in a changing climate, and
native Canadians challenged by the environment and their living
conditions, but surviving nonetheless.
Atkins Thoughts on climate change in the
Arctic: I spoke at length to a visitor to our show in Toronto
last month. A woman who had been to the Arctic about 14 years
ago and had returned recently. She told me how shocked she had
been to see the growth in vegetation. Places which had been rock
covered and bare were covered with green and tiny plants were
similar in size to plants we see in southern Canada.
Axelson The closest I have come to the
arctic was a visit to Moosonee and Moose Factory, Ontario on the
southern end of James Bay as well as to Alaska. Both trips were
very impressive. I believe that mankind has to take a serious
stand on reducing the pollution we are pouring into our environment
or we will destroy our earth as well as every living creature
Batten Thoughts on climate change in the
Arctic: This was my first visit to the Arctic and I was enthralled
by its unanticipated overblown scale. Everything was enormous
- the bird population, the long windswept beaches, the glaciers
and above all the towering cliffs. This painting shows a melt-fall
cascading into the sea at Cape Hay. With its dynamic seasonal
transformation and erosion, it encapsulates the sense of change
that permeates the Arctic experience.
Burkhardt Thoughts on climate change in
the Arctic: The bears we watched on Monumental Island were roaming
on barren land waiting for ice. They need to hunt food, we learned.
They don't eat all summer. Wouldn't it be tragic if the ice never
came, and they had to fast to death...
Condon CCGS Henry Larsen’s bridge
a fine vantage point; I sketched the majesty of the High Arctic
July 24 till late August 1994. Breaking ice in Lancaster Sound
escorting ore carriers and provisioning ships to Nanasivik and
Little Cornwallis Island our ice breaker continuously rode up
on heavy first and multi-year pack ice to open a channel. Cruising
Lancaster Sound aboard the Akademik Ioffe in late July 2006 there
was no ice to be found. Enormous glaciers I trekked on in 1994
near Dundas Harbour were alarmingly diminished. Searching for
pack ice we headed for Greenland looking to encounter animals
that forage and give birth on the ice pack. The sun shone the
sea mill pond still, many of us wore shorts and t-shirts it was
Gauthier The voyage with Arctic Quest
artists was my seventh excursion into Arctic Territory. Each expedition
had its moments of wonder and visual excitement. Over a period
of some 27 years, I have experienced changing ice patterns and
most notably warming trends, affecting wildlife sustainment and
indigenous native population’s frustrations in harvesting
declining species. On my last venture with Arctic Quest, a scene
I observed from the deck of the Akedemik Ioffe vessel brought
this aspect of environmental change to the ecology of the Arctic,
forcefully into view. Here was a lone mature polar bear squatting
on a fragment of ice surrounded by an open sea devoid of pack
ice. In order to survive, the bear needs access to ice, to hunt
their seal quarry. We need to draw attention to environmentalists,
government officials and the general public, that we are indeed
experiencing global warming on a scale that is directly influencing
the ecology of this fragile planet. Future generations will suffer
the consequences of our ineptitude in dealing with what is now
a crisis of a monumental continuum of events.
Haycock In 1975 I spent a week at Beechey
Island, where the Franklin expedition stayed 1845-46. John Torrington
age 20 years was the first to die. I always have, and always will,
think of his memory when visiting Beechey Island. That was towards
the end of “the Little Ice Age,” when staying over
winter meant being iced in 11 months or 2 or 3 years, or crushed
in the ice. This is certainly not the case now. Perhaps Franklin
would have made it through the Northwest Passage if the climate
had been the same then as it is today.
Joy I had the opportunity to sit on the
deck of the ship and paint. The ship was in constant motion, but
it had little or no vibration as it was designed for scientific
purposes. We had a few days of constant light and our path took
us through various channels and through constant icebergs and
icefields. It has a captivating appearance that keeps you looking
and looking. Sleeping becomes secondary. I managed 4 hours a day
- always strange ice forms or long strings of clouds.
Diane Howard Langlois We live in a global
world where new frontiers are further removed. I passionately
believe that the Arctic and Antarctica are some of the most dazzling
places on earth and a locale that few people have the opportunity
to visit. For centuries the Arctic and Antarctica have had a natural
allure to explorers, scientists, and academics. Today photographers,
artists, authors and environmentalists are being drawn toward
both polar poles in increasing numbers. The paradigm for the Polar
Regions are also changing from the romantic heroic lore of past
to one of interconnectedness, conflict and controversy.
Jurpik I happened to observe two polar
bears during my voyage to the High Arctic, and know they need
ice in order to survive. Many drown while swimming trying to reach
the floes. Will we one day need to recreate a temperature controlled
environment for the bears to be observed, a super zoo, if they
are to continue to exist? Is it not simpler to start acting as
responsible inhabitants of this planet?
Leclerc Painting Arctic landscape is the
best way to capture and immortalize the beauty of the white silence
before it melts away.
Ludwig The World is very Different Now.
Climates are changing, the animals are decreasing in numbers and
the earth is shifting. We must realize now that these are the
terrible results of Global Warming. The melting icebergs and ice
floes where the seals, whales and bears live and feed is fast
disappearing. So, if you do not wish to attend the funeral of
the last bear in about seventy years, we MUST act now!
McDonald During my explorations throughout
the Arctic, I have, on occasion, taken for granted many of the
impacts that Global Warming has had on this region. In 2003, I
was guilty of scouring the landscape with only an artistic eye,
selfishly starving for the next scene to grace my canvas. Today,
my interpretations of how I translate the Arctic onto canvas is
revealed in my painting titled "On Thin Ice, Baffin Island".
When I first photographed this scene, I was drawn by the strength
and courage of this polar bear having travelled an incredible
distance, hunting for it's favorite meal - the seal - often found
on the sea ice. Reflecting back with heightened scientific awareness
on Global Warming, this polar bear that I first marvelled over
has now become a very poignant scene with emphasizes solely on
the bear's survival. I am hopeful that my painting "On Thin
Ice, Baffin Island" will serve as an educational awareness
and leave each viewer with a strong statement on the effects of
McEown The power of a place can awaken
the senses and erase preconceptions. The Arctic, this formidable
yet fragile wilderness of ice and great white bears, stirs feelings
of longing and reverence. It is also a place of extreme cold,
boat crushing ice and remoteness, which awakens vulnerability
and a sense of one’s mortality. Wilderness can awaken and
take us “home” in a deep way.
The ice is a living organism. Like the topsoil in a garden, it
is the key to the ecosystem. Plankton grows underneath the ice
in which krill feed on. These tiny creatures are an important
part of a food chain that birds, seals and bears are dependent
on. So many stories are written on this beautiful “blank”
canvas. Polar bear tracks crisscross the ice floes, and pressure
ridges tell stories written by the wind. The ice is absent in
many places in the Arctic now and 2007 marked the lowest ice coverage
in recorded history.
Painting on location is a meditation, a way of communicating and
becoming one with landscape. For the last 4 years I have been
circumnavigating the Arctic Ocean and Antarctica as well have
painted at the North Pole in 2007.
Once while painting, a polar bear swam fearless along side for
ten minutes and disappeared into the fog and blue ice. I felt
wonder and reverence, a sign to keep on working through the chill
and witness the wonder of this dynamic changing place through
the creative act of painting.
Meharg There is a climate change in Canada's
north and it is starting to threaten the population levels of
polar bears. These massive predators are losing access to their
food source, seals, because of shrinking sea ice. I have depicted
my painting, Bear Family, in these difficult times.
Pittman Thoughts on climate change in
the Arctic: I've been going to the Arctic since 1968. The summer
of 2006 was warm and unlike any Arctic summer I've ever seen.
There was almost no sea ice. We sought it out, looking for wildlife
among the floes. People sat on deck in bare feet in Lancaster
Sound. Baffin Bay was mostly ice-free and we saw Orcas, unusual
this far North.
Russell The fjords, glaciers and ice-capped
mountains are now nothing like in times gone by. From the words
of the Inuit they say that due to global warming their lives have
been altered immensely as their livelihood fast disappears. The
sightings of polar bears waiting at the shore-line for the ice
to form is now commonplace. In the faces of the Inuit you can
read the harshness of their life on this land that is melting
before their very eyes. I pray that man will have the wisdom and
courage to allow this land to retain its primal beauty and not
destroy what God has created.
Schreyer Back in the summer of 1989 I
visited the Arctic for the first time. In the 3 weeks I was stationed
in Pangnirtung, Baffin Island, I watched the Pang Fjord slowly
open up and melt and I was having great fun painting the everchanging
ice floes. I was not at all aware of the climate change then.
On this Arctic Quest trip to the High Arctic and Greenland I learned
first hand that the ice is dissappearing. Some of the Locals told
me that they are enjoying the longer and warmer summer, but I
know that the polar bears need the ice and they also need the
seals to feed on. I did not see any seals.
Sevier This was my first trip to the High
Arctic. Though we saw numerous icebergs as we approached Greenland
I was surprised and disappointed by the lack of ice and the warm
temperatures in Nunavut. While hiking in Uummannaq, Greenland
I dove into a tarn for a refreshing dip, the day was so unexpectedly
warm. The Arctic continues inspiring me to create paintings of
its rugged beauty.
Shaw For months prior to my first trip
to the Arctic, I had been anxious to paint what I would witness.
I had no idea how sitting on the frozen Arctic Ocean soaking in
the beauty in front of me, would affect me. Icebergs, glaciers,
frozen oceans. As I paint the immense beauty, I find the challenge
is not to produce beautiful pieces of art, but to have all my
viewers get a feel for the enormity and rarity of what I am experiencing.
I sit and think of cars, smog, pollution and destruction. What
will this serene area look like in the years to come? All of these
thoughts are what push me to keep painting. How much longer before
all this is gone? Anger, frustration and desperation push me again
to keep painting. To remind us of our impact of global warming.
We must work harder. I find it amazing how different it is to
simply paint compared to painting with purpose.
Snelgrove We were told that the ice left
Resolute two week's early this year. Some scientists claim that
if the current warming trend continues, it will be irreversible
by the years 2015-2020! I am happy but also discouraged to have
had a last glimpse of the Arctic as we know it.
Soehner Thoughts on climate changes in
the Arctic: I had a conversation with the curator at the Aasiaat
Museum and he said that Norse history of Greenland was called
that for a good reason...it was green...when Eric the Red explored
and named it around 982-985. By 1350 however, the Norsemen had
abandoned Greenland to the Inuit with no explanation other than
a mini ice age seemed to have occurred. He was very accepting
of the fact that Greenland was now in a warming cycle.
Sookrah I would hope that in presenting
the art created as a result of the Arctic Quest 06 trip that we
would increase awareness of the Arctic and encourage people to
be more receptive to the warnings being sounded about the impact
of our collective actions on our environment. Especially the way
we are influencing the escalation of global warming and its impact
on that region of the world.
Wagler The only polar bear I happened
to see in the Arctic was on an isolated ice floe making it a long
swim for the bear to reach the next ice floe. This was information
first realized in the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”.
Ward Arctic Quest's 2006 journey aboard
the Akademic Ioffe was an experience quite unlike my first trip
to the Arctic - a Hiking trip across Baffin Island in 1993 - both
trips however, began in Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut. It was
apparent, almost immediately, that much had changed in the North.
Iqaluit, which was a city of 3000 the last time I visited, has
now grown to 9000. Only one day earlier back in the early nineties
(July 21st), when I first saw Frobisher Bay, pack ice covered
much of the water just off shore. This year, as satellite maps
revealed, not a piece of ice was to be seen anywhere!