January 6, 2023 – February 25, 2023
I would like to acknowledge that the lands depicted in these images are not my home. This land and water belong to the Inuit people of Canada and Greenland. I am grateful to have been welcomed into their homelands and acknowledge the problematic nature of being a settler within this space. Climate change impacts us all, but not all equally.
Shifting baseline syndrome is an acclimatization to one’s surroundings. In 1995, Daniel Pauly used this term to reference fisheries and the environment. In regards to climate change, it means that each generation adapts to its current environment. As extreme weather, fires, floods and droughts become commonplace, forthcoming generations will know this as the reality and may have little understanding that the world was and could be different.
This installation features a collection of images gathered while documenting climate change through the North West Passage. These waters – situated between Kugluktuk, Nunavut and Greenland – have a deep history of colonial conquest and now, once impassable due to ice, are open to commercial passage.
A decade has passed since this journey, and the situation has only worsened. The Arctic is melting twice as fast as anywhere else on the planet, which has an immense impact on the communities and ecosystems that rely on this land and water. As I travelled through this landscape, I was struck by the lack of ice. Days passed, and the water was still open. Then the first iceberg floated onto the horizon. It was almost the size of our ship. How long did it last before being absorbed into the ocean? Will the next generation know a diverse environment with sea and glacial ice?
Baseline is an attempt to shift this narrative: to challenge us to change, to listen, to act.
Anna Gaby-Trotz often travels to the most remote places in Canada to examine our relationship to the land. Her current work focuses on climate change and rapidly shifting landscapes. As a queer cis-gendered woman, she has familiarity with being an outsider. Whether working from a riverbank, or in a college or university, Anna believes in the transformative power of art. After completing her MFA in Printmaking at The University of Alberta, Anna worked in Edmonton at Boyle Street Community Services. Here, she built an inner-city arts program for some of the most marginalized people in Canada. Anna worked as a photographer on a project called Be Our Ally, where she worked with rural youth examining issues of homophobia. She participated as an artist on board the C3 Expedition, where she travelled through waters in British Columbia examining climate change. She is currently working at The University of Guelph as their Print and Digital Technician and teaches at The Ontario College of Art and Design University.
Anna would like to thank her friends and family for their endless support, and she gratefully acknowledges funding support from the Ontario Arts Council.