Climate-Based Art

A sculptor and a painter take to the ice for site-specific works addressing global warming


Two artists separated by a continent—Ap Verheggen and Nasser Azam—recently completed independent climate-based projects, each using weather to indicate the outcome.


Verheggen, who calls Holland his home, installed the first in a series of four sculptures, which will all be placed in geographic areas undergoing severe climate changes (pictured above). Concerned that “climate change brings about cultural change,” the pure iron sculpture represents a dogsled driver from the local Inuit community. A feed allows for remote viewing of the initial sculpture, located on an iceberg in Greenland, online from cool(E)motiontm until it eventually disappears into the sea. Following that, the artwork will be left to biodegrade or saved by the team, depending on if it’s possible to recover without damaging the aquatic environment.

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Born in Pakistan, London-based artist Nasser Azam’s 13 large-scale paintings in Antarctica reflect the area’s harsh tundra conditions. Using brushes, a canvas and paints specifically-designed for the severe cold, Azam created the works outside over the course of nine days, leaving each out overnight for an added abstract weather effect.

This isn’t the first time the critically-acclaimed artist has ventured beyond the canvas. In 2008, Azam completed two triptychs while floating weightlessly aboard a parabolic aircraft in space.