Gone by 2050 Graphite on Paper 90" x 132" (life size)
Embassy of the United States, Moscow, Russia
Mercury, Water, PCB, DDT Detail
Mercury, Water, PCB, DDT was created in response to information about the toxic levels of contaminates found in Beluga whales living in the St. Lawrence River estuary. They are so contaminated with toxins that their bodies, when they wash ashore, are treated as toxic waste. They are exposed to industrial pollution from the Great Lakes region, which empties into the St. Lawrence. Belugas living in this area show extraordinary rates of cancer while their relatives in the arctic show little environmental contamination and few incidents of cancer.
Using chemical formulas and symbols for Mercury, PCB, and DDT, as well as water, allowed me to depict the primary toxins found directly in this animal's watery habitat. These toxins move through the food chain and accumulate in the bodies of the whales. The chemical structures are scientific information and knowledge about the St. Lawrence Beluga that is not readily visible yet is a critical piece of information about how we as species affect this animal’s existence in this world.