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Muralist's Canvas: A Melting Iceberg

Friday, October 21, 2016

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When you think of mural painting, you probably don’t picture a Hawaiian man on an Arctic iceberg, but the artist known as Hula recently undertook a project to bring awareness to the plight of Inuit people near the Arctic Circle, and it involved painting on a surface that’s not long for this world.

Hula iceberg mural
Video still: The North Face, via Vimeo

Hula painted the head of a local Inuit woman, Jesse Mike, onto a rapidly depleting iceberg in Nunavut, Canada’s northernmost and least populated territory.

Hula, also known as Sean Yoro, is a seasoned street artist who’s accustomed to working on and near the water: He’s known to paint pieces on the shores and piers in New York City, his current home base, while standing on a paddleboard. But one recent project in extreme northern Canada involved paddling out in slightly cooler water.

Melting Canvas

Hula, whose work mainly involves portrait art, most often of women, painted the head of a local Inuit woman, Jesse Mike, onto a rapidly depleting iceberg in Nunavut, Canada’s northernmost and least populated territory. The painting is part of a series Hula is undertaking called “A’o A’na,” or “The Warning,” depicting indigenous women in areas affected by climate change.

As is depicted in a short film about the project (below), the mural was a race against time; even as the artist and his crew created the work on the iceberg, they were anticipating it cracking, and had to work quickly to get the mural painted.

What If You Fly from The North Face on Vimeo.

Hula says he uses environmentally friendly oil paints mounted on acrylic sheets affixed to the icebergs.

‘About the People’

Mike, as the Huffington Post relates, expressed that discussion of climate change often focuses on its immediate effect on the landscape and animal life of the Arctic, but glosses over the people, mainly indigenous, who live in the region. “For most people, it’s about the polar bears; it’s not about the people,” she says in the film.

“Within a few weeks, these murals will be forever gone,” Hula says on his website. “But for those who find them, I hope they ignite a sense of urgency, as they represent the millions of people in need of our help who are already being affected [by] the rising sea levels of climate change.”


Tagged categories: Artists; Decorative painting; Murals

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