“Artists play a critical role in communicating climate change, which is arguably the most important challenge we face as a global community. I have dedicated my career to translating and illuminating scientists’ warnings and statistics through an accessible medium, one that moves us in a way that statistics may not. “
- Zaria Forman
Zaria Forman documents climate change with pastel drawings. She travels to remote regions of the world to collect images and inspiration for her work, which is exhibited worldwide. She has flown with NASA on several Operation IceBridge missions over Antarctica, Greenland, and Arctic Canada. She was featured on CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, and PBS. She delivered a TEDTalk, and spoke at Amazon, Google, and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, exhibited in Banksy’s Dismaland, and was the artist-in-residence aboard the National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica. Her works have appeared in publications such as The New York Times, National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, and the Smithsonian Magazine. Forman currently works and resides in Brooklyn, NY, and is represented by Winston Wächter Fine Art in New York, NY and Seattle, WA.
ABOUT ZARIA FORMAN’S NASA SERIES
Zaria Forman’s latest work is an aerial exploration of some of the most rapidly changing places on our planet. Over the past two years she has travelled with NASA science missions to track shifting ice, producing a collection that faithfully captures the range of ephemeral landscapes she observed while flying just hundreds of feet over Antarctica and the Arctic.
While her previous drawings are often recognizable as icebergs and glaciers, Zaria’s proximity to NASA scientists inspired work that is highly precise in its technical execution and yet visually more abstract. With an eye toward communicating the alarming rate that our polar regions are melting, Zaria portrays the vulnerability of thinning ice and heat-absorbing inkiness of the seas with profound detail and inherent drama. Each piece is rich in nuance, imbuing this series with great variation and thematic cohesion. In the sharpness of these birds-eye views drawn in her characteristic large-scale format, Zaria has created deeply intimate portraits of the environments we stand to lose.
"Psychology proves that humans take action and make decisions based on emotion above all else. Studies show that art impacts our emotions more effectively than a scary news report. My drawings explore moments of transition, turbulence, and tranquility in the landscape, allowing viewers to emotionally connect with a place they may never have the chance to visit."
Like orbiting astronauts who are overcome by Earth’s fragility and moved to protect it, viewers are invited to witness a perspective on our planet that is connected to both the exacting beauty of science and the terrifying urgency of climate change.
Jakobshavn Glacier in Greenland (depicted in the donated drawing) is deservedly one of the most famous glaciers in the world. It is one of the fastest-flowing major glaciers, with speeds approaching 150 feet per day. It calves so many icebergs into the ocean, that they amount to 10% of all of the icebergs in the entire Arctic. The iceberg that sunk the Titanic likely came from Jakobshavn. Today it flows four times faster than it did in the 1990s. The glacier has thinned and retreated dramatically since then, losing more than 100 meters of thickness over a very broad area, dumping ice into the ocean and raising sea level correspondingly. This glacier is also of special significance to Zaria:
“Icebergs calve off Jakobshavn Glacier into Disco Bay, where I saw icebergs for the first time in my life on a family trip in 2007. Five years later I spread my mother’s ashes in Disco Bay. Another five years after that, I flew over Jakobshavn with a NASA mission to see the glacier, and my mother, from above."