MAY 10 UPDATE!!! Despite what the numbers look like tonight, with 48 hours left to fund my project, I'm optimistic. Here's why: A BIG KS FUNDRAISER TOMORROW NIGHT is going to tip the scales in my favor. At the 11th hour!!! :) Thanks all who have backed so generously and to others - please continue to contribute. This project is a GO. ~
Hi, I'm Rebecca Barfoot, a ceramic artist, painter and print-maker based in Colorado. I'm also a passionate advocate for wilderness preservation and environmental stewardship.
The Arctic ART Expedition.
I've been selected for an artist's residency this summer in the Arctic Circle at the Upernavik Museum on the coast of Northwest Greenland. IT'S THE NORTHERNMOST MUSEUM IN THE WORLD!! AND I NEED YOUR HELP TO GET THERE.
Going to Greenland??!! Cold! Big! Far!.. and YES!!! It's an important place these days, as the Arctic indicates profound environmental changes to come as the planet heats up.
My art/research project in Greenland is called LAST PLACES, and it's about vanishing landscapes and the impact of global warming on Arctic communities and ecosystems. While living and working at the Upernavik Museum this July and August, I'll be documenting my experiences of the land and glacier in photos, sketches, video, cyanotype contact prints, small paintings, as well as recording informal interviews with local people whenever possible. This reference material will inform a final body of work to be completed in my Colorado studio this fall, which will then become a traveling exhibit to be shared and shown far and wide.
This is the actual studio residence on Baffin Bay where I will live and work.
Lucky me!! I'm excited to have been chosen for such a rare opportunity, and grateful that I've arrived at a place in my life and artwork in which I am looking out at the world in all its beauty and turmoil, rather than inward at my own personal narrative. This project will be bigger than me and will have a voice that speaks to the times we live in- while also allowing me to use my skills as an artist and craftsperson. It's time that my creative artist self meets my environmental activist self meets my backcountry enthusiast self.
My MISSION: To make beautiful, thought-provoking artwork that speaks to global issues AND that can be seen by lots of people.
Most of the my final work will be in porcelain, since it's a unique medium which represents the fragility of Earth and ice. This work hasn't begun yet. I've been sketching some preliminary ideas in clay (like what you see here and in my video) but the final art installation will be created from my actual experience and impressions of the Arctic. I'LL BE MAKING NEW WORK UNLIKE ANY I'VE EVER MADE BEFORE!
And- kicking off the exhibition season for Last Places in my home town of Durango, Colorado at Diane West Gallery in late 2012, followed by exhibits at a range of colleges, universities, and additional galleries in the Southwest and beyond.
Interested in hosting a show for Last Places, or booking me for a presentation on Greenland? Please contact me using the link on this page!
Why I need YOU!
There's no fee to live and work at the residency. But I have to get there! Your pledge will fund:
- Round trip international air to Upernavik, Greenland
- Some domestic travel by sea while in Greenland
- Meals in Greenland
- Art supplies such as paper, canvas, paint, clay, glaze chemicals, and kiln firings
- Printed promotional materials to get the word out about my final project
- A portion of shipping costs and travel to my Last Places exhibitions
- And... some time to make all this work once I get back to the US!!
SPECIAL NOTE: In an attempt to offset the ugly carbon footprint left from overseas jet travel (aargh!) I will be donating $500-$1000 of my own savings to environmental organizations: 350.org, Indigenous Environmental Network, and the Center for Biological Diversity.
AND: A portion of all proceeds from my Last Places sales and shows will be donated to additional environmental and social justice organizations to support them in their work.
What you'll get.
Besides that really good feeling that comes from helping someone achieve their dream, you'll be awarded one of a kind, hand-made art, created by me in my Colorado studio- or in the Arctic!! Cards and mini-art, cyanotype prints, and exquisite porcelain sculptural vessels that are hand-printed, hand-painted, and fired as many as five times in my kiln. Work inspired by the ARCTIC ART EXPEDITION!! ... with domestic shipping is included.
I'm also excited to be able to offer an intimate and personal look at the Arctic ART Expedition in the form of a cohesive video journal. It will reveal the landscape and culture of remotest Greenland, along with the ins and outs of being alone in the Far North, traveling, creating work, and the emotional highs and lows of the residency experience. (One possible highlight: witnessing me- a vegan for over 20 years- have a meltdown in Greenland where what's for dinner is beluga, polar bear, and narwhal!) ... I'll be recording ALL the beauty and heartbreak of the Arctic- just to share with YOU.
"Wasted/Wonderland", original cyanotype print on Arches watercolor paper.
Please visit my website to learn a whole lot more about me and my work. I'll also be making regular posts to my blog and social media, and keeping the website current with project updates- so remember to check in and check it out!!
Special fine print for international backers: due to exorbitant international rates on shipping ceramics these days, I will not be able to reward you with my amazing porcelain artwork for your kind donation. Please message me to work out an extra-special deal on your behalf.
Last Places Artist's Statement
Last Places references the Earth's remaining wilderness, while also presenting a metaphor of the last secret spaces within ourselves; both vast, original, and so full of promise.
In my creative work, I seek to make beautiful objects while also giving breath to larger themes of ecological justice and vanishing landscapes. My porcelain vessels and sculpture speak in metaphor: Alice represents who we might be in this Wonderland of Earth, and the landscapes we are so rapidly changing in favor of industrialization. I often wish we could, like Alice, simple revel in the magic of Wonderland without the need to possess or abuse it.
The whimsy of the stick figure chairs and other objects has an underside: every piece is a husk of a thing, it's shell, perhaps unusable, which speaks to what is fragile and so often broken in our relationship to nature, to ourselves and others. The boats and forms which rock and move symbolize the healing of gentleness and grace.
There is a teaching from the Inuit-Kalaallit people in Greenland called Sirmiq Aattuq Uummatinnit, which means to melt the ice in the heart of man. It summons us to bridge the distance from our minds to our hearts through gentleness and compassion. I would like to embody this ideal in my Arctic work, as an instrument of cultural transformation and global healing.
Thanks for reading this far...
AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR PLEDGE!!! Remember, if my project isn't all the way funded, you get your money back. (But also please keep in mind that I need it to be completely funded. If not, I don't go!!)
YOU ARE GOING TO BE PART OF AN AMAZING PROJECT THIS SUMMER IN THE ARCTIC.
Photo credit: Herschel Mair, Waldemar Winkler, David Astley - with gratitude.
- (31 days)