About this project
Chasing the Light will be an expedition sailing up the NW Coast of Greenland in August, 2012. It will be the second expedition to this area whose mission is to create art inspired by the dramatic geography. The first was in 1869, led by the American painter William Bradford. His team traveled aboard the Panther to the 79th parallel when they were stopped by ice.
My mother, renowned artist Rena Bass Forman, dedicated her life to photographing the most remote regions of the earth and was inspired by Bradford’s journey. The cold and isolated landscape of the Arctic consumed her interest for the past ten years. She created her own series of journey’s entitled Chasing the Light and the Greenlandic expedition is the third in the trilogy. Her work from her Arctic trips have been compared to 19th century photographers John L. Dunmore and George Critcherson who were on Bradford’s expedition.
William Bradford, Sealers Crushed by Icebergs, 1866, courtesy of The New Bedford Whaling Museum, 72” x 120”, oil on canvas, (#1972.33)
Rena Bass Forman Greenland #2, Ilulissat, 2007, silver gelatin print
The purpose of Chasing the Light is to re-trace Bradford’s journey in Greenland and artistically document the rapidly changing landscape. My mother was in the early stages of planning this trip when she fell victim to a devastating brain tumor that took over her body and mind. Sadly, she passed away soon after Thanksgiving 2011.
During the months of my mother's illness, her dedication to the Greenland expedition never wavered. I promised I would carry out her final journey to honor her. With the wonderful help of Milbry Polk I have assembled a stellar team of artists and scholars making a fine compliment to Bradford’s journey.
In her research for the perfect boat, my mother found the Wanderbird, a long range expedition trawler. The boat has been reserved for August 2012 sailing from Illulisat as far north as the ice permits.
In addition my mother initiated conversations with the New Bedford Whaling Museum which has resulted in the planning of a major exhibit scheduled for the spring 2013 showcasing Bradford’s paintings, my mother's photographs and the art created on Chasing the Light. The expedition members and I have been collaborating with the curators at the Museum on this exciting venture. To learn more about it please visit the website:
Scott Forman, MD (My father) is currently Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Neurosurgery and Neurology at NY Medical College in Valhalla, New York. After completing 4 years of training in neurobiology and psychobiology research, he trained at UMDNJ- Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and did a fellowship in Neuro-ophthalmology at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. He has accompanied Rena on all of her journeys and acted as the documentary photographer.
Pontus Lidberg, Swedish choreographer and director of international acclaim, is known for his dance film “The Rain” (2007), for which he has received numerous awards. The Guggenheim Museum’s Works and Process series commissioned and presented his Morphoses. He was artist in residence at Joyce SoHo and the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York, creating the dance film "Labyrinth Within." He has created works for major international dance companies including The Royal Danish Ballet, The Beijing Dance Theatre, The Norwegian National Ballet, as well as for his own group Pontus Lidberg Dance which made it's US debut at the Fall For Dance Festival in New York in November 2011.
A native of Sendai, Japan, Aya Nishina is composer-in-residence at the Electronic Music Foundation, NY. She has been featured at the International Alliance for Women in Music, Essentially Choral Competition, Contemporanea 2011, received the Neil Rabaut Memorial Composition Award and has been featured at the California Academy of Sciences, "Concertpeace" series by UNICEF and Canadian Opera Company, Ear to the Earth Festival, Spoleto Festival USA. She has written soundtracks for films including the documentary, Water is Life. She is working on her debut album commissioned by TZADIK Records.
Lisa Forman studied ballet, sculpture, photography and painting. She ran a successful portrait photography business and exhibited in Rockland County, NY. In addition, she has worked for the Tibetan Home of Hope, a non-profit corporation for many years in development and design. Bodies of work include images from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ireland, the deserts of Egypt and the Camino in Northern Spain. She is the recipient of the PDN and National Geographic traveler 2010 World in Focus award for "Sense of Place".
A native of Qaqortoq, Greenland, and member of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, (ICC), Lene Holm is working with indigenous communities to study traditional knowledge about sea ice. She is currently involved in the Sila-Inuk project which collects observations from local sealers, fishermen, sheep breeders and other indigenous groups to document their experiences with newly changing ice and weather conditions that have resulted from global warming. Lene is participating in expeditions throughout the arctic region collecting oral histories.
Marissa Bennett is an educator with Baltimore City Public Schools. An avid traveler since her youth, having visited all seven continents before the age of 21, she is keenly interested in cross cultural communication and promoting culturally responsive practices in the classroom. With her teaching approach firmly rooted in inquiry-based learning, her students will be integral to her role before, during and after the expedition.
Daniel A. Bennett has been a successful entrepreneur and business executive and lifelong traveler. He was the founder and CEO of Sunbelt Sportswear and DAB Real Estate, Ltd. and served as the president of The Explorer’s Club for three years. Daniel has participated in numerous flag expeditions, ranging from an excavation in the Andes to a photographic documentation of the ecological and geographical changes of the Galapagos Islands.
Other team members will include an Arctic historian, and one more artist still to be determined!
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