This piece is titled, Nanuk, the Inuit name for polar bear which means ‘animal worthy of respect’. The artwork honours these beautiful animals and was painted during Art Basel Miami, as a part of the Basel House Festival.

For these gigantic creatures, sea ice really is their platform for life; it’s where they get their main source of prey and meet their mates. But over the last 35 years, researchers funded by NASA that have been monitoring the sea ice melt via satellites have found that on average spring melting is 3 to 9 days earlier per decade, and fall freeze-up is 3 to 9 days later per decade. That means that up to seven weeks of good sea ice habitat for polar bears has been lost. And even worse, if this trend continues we will lose a further 6-7 weeks of ice periods by 2050, causing an expected two thirds of the polar bear population to disappear. Without action, it is predicted that by 2100, we could lose wild polar bears altogether based on ice melt alone!

While these are terrifying predictions for polar bears, global warming is an issue that affects every species on the planet, including ourselves. And by burning fossil fuels, we are the biggest contributor to climate change. With every year becoming increasingly hotter than the last, and the growing onslaught of devastating storms, floods and droughts that this brings, it’s impossible to ignore global warming and the destruction we’re causing to our planet, all it’s species, and ourselves… Without making massive changes, its seems that the sixth extinction is inevitable.

Through this artwork, Sonny hopes to bring awareness to these issues, while honouring the beauty of these arctic animals, the master of the bears.

 

Photography by:

Daniel Weintraub (IG: @halopigg)

Tess Cunliffe (IG: @tesscunliffe)