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Polar Bear on Thin Ice exhibition launches at the Place des Festivals

Montreal, April 4, 2013 – Today, Polar Bear on Thin Ice, a new exhibit, launched at the Place des Festivals of Quartier des Spectacles in Montreal. Artist Armand Vaillancourt was on hand to document the event with a live painting session. The sculpture, which will be on display until April 21, 2013, illustrates the negative impact of climate change on communities and ecosystems in the Arctic. Launched by Équiterre, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Federation of Cooperatives of Northern Quebec, this exhibit is the result of a collaboration of an unusual group of Inuit, Montreal, township and British artists, who have joined together to create this symbolic work.

Illustrating the Impact of Climate Change
"This work is intended to represent the impact of climate change and aims to raise awareness of the urgent need for action. We wanted to show that global warming, which has contributed to the trend of mild winters and earlier springs that we know in recent years, will have catastrophic impacts on the living conditions of the northern communities and unique Arctic species, such as polar bears," says Steven Guilbault, Équiterre spokesperson. "This shared north-south project is a great way to demonstrate how connected we all are when it comes to climate change."

The Artists and Sculpture
A huge block of ice covered the life-sized bronze polar bear skeleton created by British artist Mark Coreth. The ice was sculpted into a polar bear by four artists, including Inuit sculptors Peter Boy Ittukallak and Juanasi Jakusi Ittukallak of Puvirnituq and internationally-recognized sculptor Stéphane Robert. They will be joined by Inuk artist, Tommy Kingwatsiak, a traveling sculptor with the Goodwill Mission St. Michael's, thanks to collaboration with the Social Development Society of Ville-Marie. As the ice melts, the skeleton will gradually be unveiled.

The Arctic and Climate Change
"Imagine if a third of the area of Quebec disappeared," asked Marie-Claude Lemieux, Quebec Director for WWF. "This is the drama unfolding in the Arctic. By 2040, the summer sea ice may disappear completely. This illustrates the magnitude of the impact of climate changes that we all face. But we have the solutions, and we can start implementing them now. The price of inaction will be far greater than the cost of investing in the necessary transition to renewable energy today."

Lost villages, more frequent clashes between polar bears and human populations, and the risk of losing an entire cultural heritage are all possible consequences of a warming the Arctic.

ELi Eliyassiapik, president of the Federation of Cooperatives of Northern Quebec, said: "Climate change has a significant impact on our everyday activities. For example, our traditional travel routes are less reliable. There are more accidents than before. We must constantly raise awareness about these new risks. "

Polar Bear on Thin Ice at the Place des Festivals
"This sculpture is interesting from several points of view: in its design, which combines the efforts of artists from diverse backgrounds; in its form, which is an interesting mix of urban and traditional Inuit art; and particularly in its purpose, to raise public awareness on a critical issue," says Pierre Fortin, Executive Director of the Quartier des spectacles Partnership. "A real encounter between culture and citizen engagement on climate change, it is the image of this incomparable diversity found in the District. For all these reasons, we are pleased to support this initiative from Équiterre, WWF and the Federation of Cooperatives of Northern Quebec."

People are invited to touch the sculpture and watch as it melts. It will be exhibited at the corner of Sainte-Catherine West and Jeanne-Mance in Montreal until April 21, when it will be the gathering point for the Great March for the Earth, which will be attended by thousands of people this year.

Additional Partners
Équiterre, WWF and the Federation of Cooperatives of Northern Quebec thank the Caisse d'économie solidaire Desjardins, the Quartier des spectacles Partnership, Robert Transport, the City of Montreal and Social Development Society of Ville-Marie for their unwavering support throughout the project.

About Polar Bear on Thin Ice
Technical Specifications
British artist Mark Coreth made three of these works were exhibited among others in Copenhagen, London, Ottawa, Quebec City and Toronto. Composed of plaster, rubber, ceramic, wax and bronze, the work weighs 6000 kg with 400 kg of ice and its melt. It was made using the technique of lost wax.

Project Partners
Équiterre's mission is to help build a social movement by encouraging individuals, organizations and governments to make ecological choices, equity and solidarity. By its action, Équiterre wants to bring attention to the fundamental aspects of life. Eat, move, live, and eat garden: vital needs, but also the means to reach everyone to act responsibly and change the world one step at a time.

WWF creates solutions to the most serious conservation challenges facing our planet, helping people and nature thrive.


For more information
Loïc Dehoux

Marie-Claude Lemieux
Director, Quebec
Office: 514-394-1105
Cell: 514-260-6233