Work by Associate Professor of Art Marek Ranis is part of an international exhibition in the Anchorage Museum in Anchorage, Alaska. The contemporary art exhibition, View From Up Here: The Arctic at the Center of the World, presents photographs, film, installations, and sculpture by 14 artists who come from Canada, Europe, and the United States. The exhibition was named by USA Today as one of the 12 "must-see" exhibits of the summer.
Ranis has contributed Like Shishmaref, a 16-minute film that juxtaposes video of the eroded coasts of the Alaskan Inupiaq village of Shishmaref and the North Carolina Outer Banks.
Like Shishmaref is the most recent creative work in Arctic Utopia, a collaborative project with the Alaskan poet Joan Naviyuk Kane that includes a multimedia installation, the film, and a play. Growing out of more than a decade of research into climate change, Arctic Utopia began with a two-month artist residency in 2013 at the Anchorage Museum, during which Ranis began to focus on climate-displaced indigenous communities in western Alaska. He conducted interviews with Alaskans of various backgrounds – activists, leaders of native communities, politicians, and artists – with the aim of telling the story of the changing landscape and its effect on people from the perspective of those that live there.
One of the Anchorage Museum’s “Polar Projects,” Arctic Utopia was exhibited in Charlotte at McColl Center for Art + Innovation in the fall of 2014 in celebration of the McColl Center’s 15th anniversary. See a video of the installation here.
View From Up Here: The Arctic at the Center of the World runs at the Anchorage Museum through October 6. After the exhibition closes, installations from View From Up Here will travel to Canada and additional venues, with public programs occurring in New York, Iceland, and Norway.