Erica Gajewski

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Gone by 2050   Graphite on Paper   90" x 132" (life size)

Embassy of the United States, Moscow, Russia 

Gone by 2050  Detail
Gone by 2050 was created in 2006, in response to published information about thinning ice in northern Canada. This life size drawing marks and records both the presence and absence of a single polar bear. Although the polar bear is alive today their future is uncertain and this drawing is a reminder of that knowledge. 
Mercury, Water, PCB, DDT    Graphite on Paper   108" x 144"   (life size)

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.