Erica Gajewski

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Mercury, Water, PCB, DDT

Mercury, Water, PCB, DDT, 2007, Graphite on paper, 108" x 144"

This life-size drawing of a Beluga Whale acknowledges the discomfort of a moment I stood face to face with a single Beluga Whale, aware of their keen consciousness, though also keenly aware that Belugas living in the St Lawrence estuary are routinely found to be contaminated with high levels of toxic chemicals that shorten their lifespans and cause abnormalities and death in their young. I too share their environment - my source of drinking water. The drawing is comprised of the chemical structure of some of the most toxic and persistent compounds found in the watery environment of the St Lawrence estuary; Mercury, PCB, and DDT are drawn suspended in the chemical structure of water to render the completed form of a Beluga Whale.

Mercury, Water, PCB, DDT (detail)

Mercury, Water, PCB, DDT (detail)

Gone by 2050

Gone by 2050, 2006, Graphite on paper, 90" x 132"

This life-size drawing of a Polar Bear was created in 2005/2006 in response to scientific research studies about thinning arctic sea ice on which her species is dependent for survival. The drawing was done after visiting a polar bear and recognizing that while she stood in front of me at that moment - we both happened to be the same age - the future life of her species is uncertain. The drawing marks and records the feeling of being present and connected to another being with the awareness of the potential disappearance of her kind in my lifetime.

Gone by 2050 (detail)

Gone by 2050 (detail)

Skill in living, awareness of belonging to the world, delight in being part of the world, always tends to involve knowing our kinship as animals with animals.
- Ursula K. Le Guin

My work explores the complex and significant ways in which we – humans – are bound and entangled together with other animals. From drawing, painting, soft sculpture, and land based art projects, I seek to provide opportunities to think about, remember, and honour the lives of other animals.

I received my B.F.A and M.F.A from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah GA, and am presently finishing a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies at York University in Toronto, Canada.