Climate Emergency Exhibition ALARM

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Graphics by Jia Chen

THEMUSEUM’s “ALARM | Responding to Our Climate Emergency exhibition” has been extended to Jan. 3, 2021.

“ALARM” first opened in January,  2020, as a response to the City of Kitchener declaring a climate emergency. With four connected exhibitions, “ALARM” advocates for immediate action on climate change.

Two of the four original exhibitions are still running: “Agents for Change | Facing the Anthropocene” and “Melting Ice”. A new exhibition titled “Grand Expressions” has since been added to the selection. 

Co-curated by Nina Czegledy and Jane Tingley, “Agents for Change” features artwork from 10 interdisciplinary artists whose work explores the theme of ecological change. These artists are working at the intersection of science, technology, and art. 

“Melting Ice” features the work of two local photographers, Ben Eby and Brian Riddell, from their recent trips to the Antarctic and the Arctic circle, as well as an interactive iceberg installation. 

Eby spoke about his connection to the Arctic and how the connection inspired his art. “I went to the Arctic Circle for my first time, and I just loved that landscape up there, loved the wildlife, loved the ice [laughs] and I was hooked after that,” Eby said. 

Eby’s pieces fit perfectly with an exhibition about the threat of a climate emergency: the Arctic is shrinking rapidly, exacerbating the effects of climate change. His photographs memorialize a world that may soon no longer exist. 

Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, Eby encouraged people to experience the exhibition in person. “It’s been a strange year for art,” he acknowledged, “and particularly difficult for museums, where you usually attend in groups. But it’s really important to see such important and significant artwork displayed [in an exhibition].”

Eby attended opening night and expressed his joy at seeing everything come together so successfully. 

“Grand Expressions” features work from Indigenous youth at Six Nations of the Grand River, who created pieces to share their stories about water. These stories include testimonies about lack of access to safe drinking water and teachings that have been passed down for generations in their communities. 

The project is a co-created collaboration between Elaine Ho, a UW PhD Candidate, and Richelle Miller, the Coordinator of Music for the Spirit & Indigenous Visual Arts. 

With “ALARM”, THEMUSEUM aspires to highlight efforts being made to conserve the climate and explore opportunities for people to help build an eco-friendly future. 

“It is important, as a community, we get back to the narrative of climate emergency. The impact on humans by COVID-19 will pale compared to the collapse of our environment,” David Marskell, CEO of THEMUSEUM, said.