Fogo Island Arts: Meltwater

17 August – 30 November, 2023
Opening Panel Discussion: 17 August, 5pm | Gathering Hall
Opening: 17 August, 6-8pm | Fogo Island Gallery

Ashoona AshoonaMartha AtienzaMary BabcockMaureen GrubenAlexa Kumiko HatanakaNikau HindinKathy Jetñil-KijinerJessie KleemannAka NiviânaKatherine Takpannie, and Angela Tiatia

Each spring, icebergs calved from the west coast of Greenland make their way into the Labrador Sea, floating through ‘Iceberg Alley’ and eventually past the coast of Fogo Island where they drift into warmer waters as they slowly melt. These spectacular seasonal occurrences are a normal part of a glacier’s lifecycle, but with rising temperatures, the increased regularity of these striking forms along the island’s shores also signals that glacial melt is accelerating, with the resulting meltwater leading directly to rising sea levels globally. 

Taking Fogo Island’s proximity to these familiar seasonal visitors, these living beacons of a changing climate, Meltwater, weaves a route northward from Fogo Island, through the Labrador Sea, across the Arctic Ocean, and into the Pacific Ocean, considering what role this melting ice sheet plays in coastal communities that are far away, but nonetheless, interconnected. 

Meltwater honours forms of embodied knowledge that have unfolded in these coastal ecosystems over centuries. It asks what urgent questions are arising in communities that are experiencing environmental changes brought about by melting ice and rising sea levels, acknowledging that this ecological crisis has societal, material, and also very personal implications. It questions how particularities of place can be protected, as well as how they can be transmitted to future generations as coastlines morph before our eyes. 

The selected works explore processes of remembering, reclaiming, and reviving against the threat of disappearance and destruction. Meltwater acknowledges the challenges we face collectively, and amid a rapidly changing climate, offers a dream of coastal worldmaking.

Meltwater is curated by Claire Shea. 

Meltwater springs from a series of programming resulting from a new weather station on Fogo Island by artist Liam Gillick as part of the World Weather Network (WWN), a ground-breaking constellation of “weather stations” located across the world in oceans, deserts, mountains, farmland, rainforests, observatories, lighthouses and cities. WWN is comprised of artists and writers from twenty-eight arts organizations from across the world.

Liam Gillick’s A Variability Quantifier (The Fogo Island Red Weather Station), 2022 is an artwork that functions as an operational weather station for Fogo Island. It gathers local weather data and is a place for education, reflection, and discussion. The site and work are open and people are encouraged to visit the weather station.

Live Weather Reports are available here alongside an ongoing series of programmes and events that are regularly updated and available here.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts

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