Want to help me go to the Arctic?

Many of you know that I am currently on leave from my job at the University of Puget Sound for the calendar year of 2017 so that I can pursue some exciting opportunities I have been granted related to my art career.

The first is that I will be Artist in Residence at the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside this spring. The second opportunity is the purpose of this post. I have been accepted to participate in the prestigious Arctic Circle Residency. What this opportunity means is that I will be traveling to Longyearben, Svalbard, located in the Arctic Circle north of Norway, with a small group of scientists and other artists to study and explore the area. The residency extends from October 1st-19th.

Some background on why I am embarking on this journey: As many of you know, throughout my life, I have nurtured a profound love of the natural world and all animals. National and global policies have had a severe impact on aquatic habitats and life—including ocean acidification and varying forms of pollution. For the last two years, I have been working on an art project called “Sea,” which is a meditation on humanity’s impact on ocean life. The project involves hand-making paper from scraps of discarded newsprint and then carving thousands of waves into the paper.

screen-shot-2017-02-10-at-5-19-20-pmIn 2015, I printed some of these sheets and packaged them as a comic book. The book was granted a Toonie Award from Cartoonist’s Northwest and was spotlighted by both The Stranger and Seattle Review of Books. The original pages were selected for exhibition at Washington State University this past fall.


In my continuing work on this project, I have had the opportunity to consult and collaborate with scientists who are studying whales, ocean noise pollution, salmon habitat, etc. Traveling to the Arctic is my opportunity to develop “Sea” in ways that will expand the project’s message and scope. I am proud of the work I am doing and excited for the opportunity that this residency will provide to deepen my perspectives, my communities, and my art to better serve ocean habitats and animals that are currently under threat around the world, as well as to draw attention the human communities that depend upon water for our well-being.

The cost of the residency is $6300 and includes Longyearben lodge accommodation, transfers from airport to lodge and lodge to ship, all meals on board, all shore excursions, and access to on board facilities.I am applying for grant opportunities to cover this fee, but I also need to purchase plane tickets, arctic gear, art supplies, and a hydrophone to record underwater sounds. Rather than doing a typical online fundraiser, I’ve decided to offer a more direct opportunity for you to buy original art from me to support my journey. I will appreciate whatever you can give toward this adventure and I am happy to take commissions for cut paper art ranging anywhere from $30-500. We can talk individually about what size, materials, and level of detail I can offer at different price points ($30, $75, $125, $250, $500). You may also purchase original pages from the comic book “Sea,” which I can deliver to you once the exhibition if completed (by 2019). I anticipate all other commissions can be completed and delivered this summer.

If you are unable to purchase art from me at this time, thank you for taking the time to read this post! I appreciate all forms of mental and emotional support, too, and would love to hear from you regardless.

Wishing you are all well and taking care during these strange times.


1 thought on “Want to help me go to the Arctic?

  1. Pingback: Hello from mid-May | Mita Mahato

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