Why We Won’t Just Leave: What Alaska is Telling the World About Climate Change. Virtual Exhibition Curated by Lindsay Carron.

Artworks (Left to Right): Keri Oberly, Photograph of Quannah Chasinghorse Potts and Jody Juneby Potts, 2020 (Partial View); Bill Hanson, ​Broken Blue Ruins at Low Tide​, Digital Image from series “Southeast Alaska: Changing Climate, Changing Landscapes, Changing Life” (Partial View) and; Apay’uq Moore, ​Gram and Girl​, Acrylic on Canvas, 2020 (Partial View).

To the outside traveler, encountering signs of climate change in Alaska can be staggering. To those who call Alaska home, it is increasingly alarming and very real. Villages are collapsing into melting permafrost and eroding into the sea. Glaciers are receding exorbitantly fast, exposing rock that has been covered for ten thousand years. Melting sea ice makes it almost impossible for species like the polar bear to survive. Humbling stories abound of lack of food due to changing caribou migrations, salmon runs and subsistence patterns, and lives lost through thin ice in places that were once safe to traverse. 

 In Los Angeles, climate change has a different feel. Nitrogen oxide in thick smog contributes to increasingly warm temperatures, wildfires surge dangerously into communities, and the warming ocean brings deadly algal blooms and marine animal die-offs. In both Alaska and Southern California, hundreds of people have been displaced due to climate change. 

Why We Won’t Just Leave  highlights the responses of Alaskans to their rapidly changing environment and delivers messages that are key for us all if we are to reverse climate catastrophe and cultivate a healthy, vibrant future for generations to come. From activists delivering testimonies in D.C. and artists revealing truth with beauty, to scientists studying methane released from melting permafrost, Alaska has a message for the world.  

Why We Won’t Just Leave  features portraits, paintings, photography, stories, and video and audio profiles of over 15 artists, scientists, writers and activists responding to climate change in Alaska. The exhibition debuted virtually in the SPARC virtual gallery in February 2021, introducing Alaska as a major player in the world’s climate crisis to an audience separated by 3000 miles, but not separate from its impacts. Ancillary programs include a panel talk and youth programming. Attendees will leave the exhibition enriched by the information provided by exhibition participants, with tangible connections and action points, and inspiration for enacting change in their own communities. 

The exhibition is on view virtually from February 27th – April 10th. Visit the exhibition landing page to enter the virtual gallery and to view the curatorial walk-through.

Participating Artists & Contributors:  Apay’uq Moore, Ayana Young, Bernadette Demientieff, Bill Brody, Bill Hanson, Hannah Perrine Mode, Ilarion Kuuyux Merculieff, International Arctic Research Center, Jennifer Moss, Jessica Thornton, Jody Juneby Potts, Kate Troll, Keri Oberly, Klara Maisch, Lindsay Carron, Marie Sakar, Nathaniel Wilder, Quannah Chasinghorse Potts, Sheryl Reily, Sophie Sakar, Tim Musso.

View the Curatorial Walk-Through Here:

A taste of the virtual gallery platform curtesy of Kunstmatrix and SPARC team:

Upcoming Virtual Event:

What Can Art Do for Climate Action?

A Virtual Panel Talk with Klara Maisch, Jessica Thornton, and Hannah Perrine Mode

This virtual artist panel is presented in association with the exhibition Why We Won’t Just Leave: What Alaska is Telling the World About Climate Change curated by Lindsay Carron and hosted by SPARC.

Alaska is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, and climate change impacts range from melting permafrost releasing methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, infrastructure eroding into the ocean, compromised survival of animal species, and changing subsistence patterns affecting food security. Changes in Alaska’s landscape have a global impact. Why We Won’t Just Leave: What Alaska is Telling the World About Climate Change is a virtual exhibition that highlights the responses of Alaskans to their rapidly changing environment. Artists Klara Maisch, Jessica Thornton, and Hannah Perrine Mode are featured in the virtual gallery exhibition and will lead a talk on Thursday, March 11th at 6:00 PM PST that explores the important connection between art and climate action.

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