Climate change is a hot debate topic among scientists, politicians and students alike. The UAA/APU Consortium Library currently features a two-part, mixed-media, climate crisis art exhibit titled “Made of Stone.” The exhibition was installed on Sept. 6 and will be on display until Oct. 26.
Alanna DeRocchi, one of the contributing artists to the exhibit, has a master of fine arts, or MFA, from Alfred School of Art and Design and is currently a term instructor of art in ceramics at UAA. She made the sculptures portion of the exhibit and believes that it is important for Alaskans to be concerned about the effects of climate change that are already happening, such as glacial melt and rising temperatures.
“Many Alaskans stand to lose vital resources and possibly their way of life. Animals stand to lose their habitats and food sources,” DeRocchi said.
Her sculptures feature Alaskan animals such as caribou, otters and polar bears. The installations, which DeRocchi has been working on since 2004, are large in scale, some being life-size, like the caribou head of her piece “Shedding Velvet.”
DeRocchi’s sculptures are meant to unsettle the viewer and remain in their memory, she says. She wants to exhibit how animals cannot communicate how much pain they may actually feel.
“What I hope people can take away from my sculptures in the exhibition is that animals are not really able to speak out for themselves about how a changing climate impacts them,” DeRocchi said.
She explained the disconnect people feel towards these creatures and the importance of being aware of the connection that the animal world has to the entire natural world.
“The imagery we see in the news of starving polar bears, walrus falling off rocky cliffs avoiding overcrowded beaches or mass whale and bird die-offs, are all telling sights that urge us to pay attention,” DeRocchi said. “They are more than just food or objects on the horizon, they are an integral part of our ecosystem.”
The second part of the mixed-media exhibit was created by resident UAA artist Jonathan S. Green, who has an MFA in printmaking from the University of Alberta. His portion of the works in “Made of Stone” were made through printmaking and lithography.
The imagery in Green’s pieces are of stone, scaffolding and size. In his artist’s statement on his professional website, Green said working with the subject of stone itself is a way of communicating the effects of climate change on a sizeable and permeable scale.
“By working with stone, and of stone, Green is collaborating with a cold but sympathetic companion. One that has seen catastrophe before,” he said in his artist’s statement.
“Made of Stone” is currently on display and will be available to view until Oct. 26 at the UAA/APU Consortium Library during its hours of 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.