Ellen Karin Mæhlum
For the last 20 years I have visited Svalbard regularly. In 2018, I was invited by the Queen Sonja Print Award (QSPA) to a residency at Artica's graphics workshop in Longyearbyen at Svalbard. My work dealt with changes in land and sea ice. The various physical forms of ice - both on a small and large scale - became motifs in the grapich series ICESCAPES.
The nature in the Arctic is vulnerable and climate change is dramatic. The Arctic is heating up more than twice as fast as the rest of the world, and according to researchers, the summer ice will be completely gone in a few decades The melting of glaciers and sea ice in the Arctic, and permafrost that thaws, heat waves and forest fires in Siberia are interrelated phenomena due to the extreme warming in the north. The rise in temperature will not only destroy a beautiful, unique and rich ecosystem, but will also, according to marine and climate scientists, lead to catastrophic changes in weather, ocean currents and sea level.
Experiencing the beauty and power of the ice landscapes is overwhelming. The scenery changes continuously due to currents, melting ice and light conditions. With ICESCAPES, I want to show fragments and glimpses of these unique, fragile and important Polar regions. Hopefully, the exhibitions can invite to curiosity and reflection upon the dramatic changes taking place in the Arctic, and what they may entail.