The world's first polar art exhibit heads to the Arctic this April

This spring’s hottest art exhibit will travel to some of the world’s coldest places. The National Geographic Endurance ship, a new build for Lindblad Expeditions debuting this April, was created to venture deeper into the polar regions than any other passenger vessel before—and on board it will house the world’s first permanent ship-based polar art installation called Change

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Zaria Forman artwork © Haik Studio Inc

Curated by acclaimed artist Zaria Forman, Change explores the effects of climate change through a collection of paintings, videos, sculptures, and photos from over fifty artists around the world. “Change brings together a diverse group of multimedia artists,” Zaria told Lonely Planet. “The only criteria I gave them was that the work be inspired by the polar regions. Some artists had visited these places in reality and others only in their minds, but all artists I have chosen are connected to—and their work is inspired by—the natural world.”

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A seal jumps into water © Michael S. Nolan

Zaria explained her work has always focused on giving viewers a chance to connect with a place they may not necessarily have the chance to visit, but Change marked her first time as an art curator. She wanted to send a message that extended beyond her own work, helping guests on board the Endurance gain a deeper understanding of climate change and some of the destinations so profoundly affected by it.

“I want passengers to fall in love with these places as I have,” Zaria explained, “because when you love something, you want to protect it.”

Sven Lindblad, president and CEO of Lindblad Expeditions, acknowledged the power of art, making it no surprise that he asked Zaria to curate the first ever permanent art exhibition aboard a National Geographic expedition ship. “Art has historically been used to transmit ideas and to inspire,” he told Lonely Planet. “The National Geographic Endurance will spend most of its life in and around polar regions where climate change is accelerating at the greatest levels. Change the exhibit will provoke greater thought about the importance of ice and a planet in balance.”

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Inside the Endurance ©2018 Lindblad Expeditions

Aside from making history in the polar art world, Change offers unique perspectives of landscapes that guests won’t experience by looking out the windows of the Endurance or outside during excursions. Passengers can witness glaciers from above or jellyfish from the depths of the seas, and while some works explore the Arctic’s geological past, others envision their future. The largest sculpture, an interactive artwork from John Grade, lets guests step inside the piece and imagine what it would feel like to be inside sea ice floating to the surface of the ocean. 

“Climate change is arguably the biggest crisis we face as a global society, and artists play a critical role in communicating the complex issues involved,” Zaria added. “I hope this exhibition tells the story of our changing climate and these vulnerable regions, and inspires people to take action.”

You can view Change on board the National Geographic Endurance on one of its upcoming itineraries.

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