As you walk through the front entrance of the Vancouver Aquarium, you are struck by the images.
Two-metre long banners containing photos and stories of youth from four Arctic communities are being exhibited at the aquarium until 14 February. The Vancouver Aquarium is a major science education institution located in Canada’s third largest city on the west coast of British Columbia. It has received 35 million visitors since it opened in 1956.
The aquarium is also running a major Arctic science and education programme called Canada’s Arctic. It’s a perfect location to hold the latest Portraits of Resilience photography exhibition.
Portraits of Resilience is part of the Many Strong Voices (MSV) programme that focuses on the effects of climate change in the Arctic and Small Island Developing States. MSV is coordinated by GRID-Arendal and the University College London.
Portraits trains young people in two of the regions most affected by climate change in the use of photography and other digital media, helping to bring personal stories and faces to the attention of the general public and to decision-makers at the international level.
A large crowd greeted the opening of the exhibition on 9 January.
“It is such a fantastic space to show the exhibit,” said Christine Germano, the artistic director of Portraits who has been working with the Vancouver Aquarium on the project. “People are so engaged at the aquarium to learn and discover.”
The photos and stories are from Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Arctic Norway. The museum has set up a comment book for visitors to write their impressions.
“Great stories and beautiful photos, they really put a personal face on climate change,” said one visitor on the first day. “That is much more moving than yet another factual report.”