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 honors 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.
Artists: Ashoona Ashoona, Martha Atienza, Mary Babcock, Maureen Gruben, Alexa Kumiko Hatanaka, Nikau Hindin, Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, Jessie Kleemann, Aka Niviâna, Katherine Takpannie, and Angela Tiatia
Meltwater is curated by Claire Shea