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The Green Life: An Icy Tableau

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March 17, 2010

An Icy Tableau

Ap Verheggen sculpture in Greenland Recently, ice has figured prominently in artistic expressions about global warming. In September, Greenpeace activists placed 500 ice sculptures of children in front of China’s Temple of the Earth to highlight the threat of climate change. In January, climate skeptics in Fairbanks, Alaska, mocked Al Gore by displaying his likeness in ice.

Today, Dutch sculptor Ap Verheggen is erecting a giant sculpture of a dog-sled driver atop an iceberg on Greenland's west coast. When the iceberg melts, the artwork will sink into the sea, but not before possibly floating across the North Atlantic.

The project, the first of four that Verheggen is undertaking in places that are experiencing the dramatic impacts of climate change, is intended to highlight the effects on Inuits. It's in Uummannaq, Greenland, a village of 1,000 humans and 2,000 sled dogs that's on an island in the middle of a fjord. This winter, for the first time, ice did not form around the island. In January, temperatures soared to 52 degrees.

The sculpture can be viewed live via webcam until it disappears. Made of pure iron, it will dissolve if lost in the depths of the ocean, but the camera and batteries are attached to a buoy and should be recovered. Verheggen’s next projects will be in northern Canada and on melting permafrost in Siberia.

--Wendy Becktold

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