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Filtering by Tag: Eva Wu

Words for #SantéQCHealth

Eva Wu

 
Eva Wu giving a speech on community care before the screening of the Northern Lights Kangiqsujuaq documentary © Stories for Humanity

Eva Wu giving a speech on community care before the screening of the Northern Lights Kangiqsujuaq documentary © Stories for Humanity

 

C'était une soirée magnifique au Musée McCord à Montréal. 

The organization Stories for Humanity had just completed their second magazine, #SantéQCHealth, and that night was set aside as the launch ceremony. The group is an international participatory media outlet leading public discussions about major social issues, with the present looking into "les enjeux du système de santé au Québec," or the issues in the Quebec healthcare system as some would say in English. 

Amongst the 200 people present at the event was Co-Founder Eva Wu and new NIF Ambassador Raphael Dury. Between listening to panel discussions and learning about the challenges people face when it comes to healthcare, the pair also shared the stories of North in Focus's role in patient care and resource implementation from a youth and community based perspective. Above all else, the team highlighted the messages of community consultation and Indigenous engagement. 

 
Ambassador Raphael Dury with Eva sharing their stories at the NIF booth © Stories for Humanity

Ambassador Raphael Dury with Eva sharing their stories at the NIF booth © Stories for Humanity

 

As the evening progressed the focus shifted to NIF. Following the 2016 Kangiqsujuaq Northern Lights project in northern Quebec, the team knows how often mental health alongside northern community values are overlooked in a southern context, and Stories brought about a platform to discuss these issues. Eva took the stage to speak about the importance of spreading these messages to youth to bring light, positivity, and hope to tackle these problems. Heartstrings were even pulled in the audience as the Northern Lights documentary was screened. 

Questions poured in following the exhibition of the other world that is northern Quebec, opening up discussions about the injustices that are so greatly impacting the lives of northern inhabitants. Stories for Humanity has provided a collaborative platform for these conversations to form, and the team sees so much potential for development that could drastically change how mental health care is implemented. 

Nakurmiik, merci à Stories, et à toute à l'heure! 

Click here to visit the Stories for Humanity Facebook page and website to learn more or participate. Check out the piece on the Northern Lights Documentary in the #SantéQCHealth magazine.

 
The final product: #SantéQCHealth Magazines © Stories for Humanity

The final product: #SantéQCHealth Magazines © Stories for Humanity

 

Laughter: Their Voice Not Ours

Eva Wu

Kangiqsujuaq Northern Lights Post-Project Reflection: Eva Wu

Eva Wu sitting by the bay that gives Wakeham Bay its name.

Eva Wu sitting by the bay that gives Wakeham Bay its name.

Never have I been constantly surrounded by the ringing of laughter for a whole week straight, day in and day out. It’s hard to get tired of it, in fact to me, it was what made this entire program completely unique.

Our first day, I distinctly remember walking into the community gym to play a game of impromptu volleyball with the local youth. The fluidity and understanding that travelled between each player was absolutely spectacular, a cohesive bond that a big city girl like me had never experienced. More important than anything, the entire game proceeded with next to no verbal communication, yet it was not silent. Laughter took the place of chatter. It is a place where words aren’t necessary to convey feelings, meanings, and stories. It is a place where there was mutual respect and love. 

Each day, regardless of how comfortable each student was with us Southern students, their chuckles between photography and mental health sessions helped lighten the mood. Though they were silent in terms of words, we were able to understand what they were feeling, as their giggles rang through the halls, emanating with curiosity. 

Each night Gabrielle and I would flip through hundreds of photos, sorting, cataloguing, editing. Eventually we came to the realization that the students focused their photos more on each other than their surroundings, prompting us to believe that they truly wished to capture each other’s joy and emotions in their lens. This further strengthened our confidence that these youth had the potential to use their images to extend their care and support throughout their community.

Eva's picture of the northern lights flickering over the complex that we stayed in.

Eva's picture of the northern lights flickering over the complex that we stayed in.

On our last night, I was informally interviewing Madeline and Jamie Yaaka regarding regional tourism for my report that I will be presenting at a Mock Arctic Council in Alaska this week. One particular perspective really struck me. They said that when tourists come to the community, they turn a blind eye to the addiction and health problems that the region faces. This raises the debate about how Northern communities should be portrayed to their Southern visitors. Often people only focus on all the issues, or all the cultural and natural beauty, but how could change happen if they don’t present all sides of reality? 

Walking into the project, we knew that we couldn’t tell the students' story. We didn’t know them, and we wouldn’t know them. A week spent in proximity with these youth would lead people to believe that we can grasp their feelings and stories, though it was quite the opposite. The longer we listened to their laughs and banters the more we realized that yes, any reporter can come in and write an article, but only these kids can tell the whole story. That, is exactly why we came. 

Their laughter and their voice is what the world needs to see. Our perspectives do not encompass their community, their world. The cameras and the tools we have placed in their hands are what we can provide them, but what they choose to do with them is the part that can allow people to see the life through their eyes.

-Eva Wu

PS. This is our first, and definitely not last, video created by Eric Foss about our experiences up North.

Northern Lights Final Day

Eva Wu

Eva Wu, Eric Foss, and Patrick Hickey out in Kangiqsujuaq.

Eva Wu, Eric Foss, and Patrick Hickey out in Kangiqsujuaq.

Tuesday, February 16

The program today started with a talk and slideshow by Yaaka. Using his gorgeous photos taken while out on the land, he taught about many topics ranging from the wildlife native to Nunavik, to cultural practices such as spearfishing. In addition, Yaaka shared some incredible shots of the Northern lights, thereby proving how good photographers can manipulate their cameras to turn dark situations into something great. Yaaka is also a great example of how Inuk photographers can earn money selling their photos to magazines, while also representing Nunavik through the eyes of people who live and thrive there.

Next up Jessica, James and Yaaka spoke about how past traumatic events have negatively impacted the mental health of the community. Historical traumas - like use of residential schools and the slaughtering of the sled dogs – marked the beginning of widespread drug and alcohol use, as well as a suicide rate continues to rise to this day. James spoke about the importance of education so young Inuk can take over more senior positions in the region.

The night ended with a session of light painting outside. Everyone had a blast using their flashlights to create shapes and words, or moving their bodies to create ghost pictures. It was the perfect way to end off the day.

Students creating light painting portraits and images.

Students creating light painting portraits and images.

Wednesday, February 17

Our fifth day in Kangiqsujuaq started with a visit to the Pingualuit National Park interpretation center. We toured around this beautiful building, learning about the parks in Nunavik, the Pingualuit crater, flora and fauna native to the region, and traditional Inuit way of life. We then had the opportunity to look through old photos taken in and around Kangiqsujuaq, observing the changes in clothing and infrastructure over time.

Later, Patrick - along with Betsy, who translated English to Inuktitut - went on the local radio to talk about the working that we are doing, along with our plans for the upcoming days.

North in Focus Northern Lights

The program on this day was short and sweet. With church being held at 6pm, we chose three activities that would make the most of our limited time with the students.

We first lead an activity called “Earache vs. Psychache”. This involved writing down the word “Earache” on a sheet of paper, and brainstorming ideas associated with this condition. For example, earaches are painful, they can make you cranky, you can’t see them, you may not be able to get out of bed if you have one, and they will get worse if not treated. At this point in the activity, “ear” was replaced with “psych”. This helped us draw parallels between physical and mental illnesses. At the same time, it allowed for a discussion about the disparity between the amount of time people wait before seeking help for a physical illness (one participant said he would wait between an hour and two days) versus mental illness (some people wait weeks or months before starting treatment). In addition, unlike an earache, psychaches can be lethal if not dealt with as soon as possible.

The students then came up with three encouraging messages and wrote them down in Inuktitut. The messages were: “don’t give up”, “you are strong”, and “you are not alone”. Using the portrait photography skills they acquired in our session on aperture, they created portraits of each other proudly displaying the positive phrases.

Lastly we took a gym break, which included a quick talk with the students about self-care. When asked why we were playing sports in the middle of a mental health workshop, one student answered, “to practice teamwork”. Another chimed in, “supporting each other”. Both of these ideas speak to the strong sense of community amongst the small population of Kangiqsujuaq, and the importance of interacting with others to help them promote their own mental health. We then continued to chat about how exercise can make you feel happy and increase self-esteem, as can other self-care practices like adequate sleep, proper nutrition, taking time to relax alone or with friends, and making art.

The northern lights giving us a spectacular show. Photo by Gabrielle Foss.

The northern lights giving us a spectacular show. Photo by Gabrielle Foss.

We couldn’t have possibly concluded a days worth of work in any better way than to have stepped outside and be welcomed by the Northern lights. Our long day was ended with a lovely lady named Sarah teaching us about how to make bannock, a traditional fried dough treat. Stomachs full of Nutella, and brains foggy and tired, we headed to bed to rest for the upcoming day.

Thursday, February 18

Negative 43 degrees Celsius. That is what we were told the temperature was outside with the wind chill as we waited to embark on a dogsledding adventure. Two local mushers harnessed their beautiful huskies, readied the Skidoo, and off we went. The three of us sat on the sled as the dogs pulled it across Wakeham Bay, and around an iceberg that got stuck in the bay. The scene was right out of a movie, sun shining, snow swirling just on top of the ice below, dogs content to be working hard, and our guides kindly asking every so often if we were getting too cold (meanwhile they bravely faced the wind with no face mask or gloves). All exposed eyelashes and hair developed an icy coating.

For the photography part of the program today we taught about the concepts of white balance, light metering, and “breaking the rules”. We talked about how making a photo colder or warmer can affect how the photo is perceived. Warmer photos are often more inviting, while colder photos appear less friendly. The light meter can be adjusted to let more or less light in than the average setting that the camera defaults to, this is useful when shooting white Arctic landscapes.

Students distributing the post it notes around Arsaniq School.

Students distributing the post it notes around Arsaniq School.

We then ran an activity where we made a list of rules of how to make a “proper” photo. These included keeping your camera still when shooting, keeping your subject in focus, taking your lens cap off, and having fun. In order to unleash any more creativity that was previously trapped, we proceeded to break the rules we previously listed (except for “have fun”, of course that had to stay!).

Eric, our project videographer, gave an impromptu lesson on how to tell a story with video. The video can either be strung together from a sequence of shots, or done all in one take. The students were then challenged to tell a story in one take of under 30 seconds, and we got to watch their creations over a delicious dinner of shepherd’s pie.

We ended the day with a really fun and impactful “post-it project”. The students’ came up with 10 phrases in Inuktitut, and wrote them down on as many post-it notes as possible before running around the school to stick them on walls, desks, doors, and anywhere else they can brighten up someone’s day.

Students writing encouraging messages in Inuktitut on the Post-It notes, ready for distribution.

Students writing encouraging messages in Inuktitut on the Post-It notes, ready for distribution.

After the final remarks and goodbyes, Art with Heart’s Northern Lights project was brought to a close on a very positive note. Four hours in a plane, six hours in a bus, and two hours in a train later, we are just beginning to reflect on the past week as well as plan for all the exciting work ahead.

Northern Lights Project

Eva Wu

 
Eva Wu Design Northern Lights Logo
 

UPDATE

Back in August we posted a blog post titled, “AWH in the Arctic.” I was stunned when I reread it today because I realized just how much has happened since then. In that post we first introduced our goal to complete a photography and mental health workshop for youth in the Canadian Arctic. Now that plans are being solidified and tickets have been bought, I am so excited to update the AWH community on all the progress that has been made in the past 5 months!

The first step - that catalyzed the rest of the development of this project - was our partnering with Madeline Yaaka and her mother Marion. I met Madeline aboard the SOI 2015 Arctic expedition and at that time she expressed interested in having us lead the workshop in her community in Nunavik (Northern Quebec). The rest is history. We have been collaborating with Madeline and Marion since September, and we are so grateful for their support and can’t wait to visit their community of Kangirsujuaq, Quebec!

TIMELINE AND OBJECTIVES

Another important detail we should mention is when we have decided to complete this project. Last summer when Eva, Jennifer and I sat in a poutine shop and enthusiastically brainstormed ideas for this initiative, we planned to complete it within 2 to 3 years. After meeting Madeline, we thought we could be really ambitious and do it as early as May 2016. We worried about not having enough time and how we all have to get summer jobs in May to pay for university…

So naturally our solution to that hiccup was to aim to run this project even earlier, in February 2016! So now it is January, and we are busily finalizing details for our departure in a mere 27 days. Yet somehow, everything is coming together and we are ready to take off. We will be arriving in Kangirsujuaq on February 13 and staying until February 20. During that time, we will be leading a 5-day workshop for 12 students aged 13 and over. The workshop involves three major components:

1)   Educating the students about mental health

2)   Teaching basic photography skills

3)   Using photography so youth can express themselves and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health in the community

MENTAL HEALTH IN THE CANADIAN ARCTIC

Mental illness and suicide in the North is a complex matter. There are numerous possible causes for the current alarming statistics, but nevertheless, it is time to start finding solutions. Our project mentor, Marion, writes:

“At present, very few people in Nunavik seek treatment for mental health issues. Many individuals living with this problem are stigmatized as being “crazy” or “out of it” and are often ignored or shunned by other members of the community…We are now aware that 90% of all youth who die by suicide have an undiagnosed mental illness…Knowing more about the symptoms, causes and treatments may help individuals and family members understand what is happening and when to seek help.”

WHAT'S IN A NAME

Enter our project: Northern Lights. The name stems from the notion that depression is often referred to as darkness, and the goal of this project is to allow light back into the lives of youth whose mental health might be suffering. A skilled photographer knows how to manipulate their camera in order to let more light into a photo, consequently revealing beauty that darkness would otherwise mask. By teaching youth about photography, we hope this skill can transfer over to let them find beauty and joy in everyday life. 

NEW TEAM MEMBERS

We have also recruited two more team members to assist with this project. Patrick Hickey, who is also a first year student at Western University, is our Mental Health Awareness Advisor. He has been heavily involved in various mental health initiatives in his community of St. John’s, and has recently been working hard on the mental health activities for the Northern Lights workshop. In addition, Eric Foss will either be working as our Videography Advisor or as the Videographer for this project, depending on how much funding we can collect in the next few weeks! He was a photojournalist with the CBC for 30 years, and will contribute his skills and expertise to ensure we can put together a documentary after the project is over. This film will be shared via social media to raise awareness about mental health in the North.

HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED

Thank you for taking the time to read this, feel free to get in touch with us if you would like to know more! We are psyched to soon be able to put our work to good use, and make a difference in this community. We hope to also take this opportunity to learn more about Inuit culture and daily life in the Arctic. Eva, Patrick and I are all very passionate about engaging youth and empowering them to reach their full potential. We believe that addressing mental health in the North is at the root of solving other problems that exist there and creating hope for the future of youth in Canadian Inuit communities.

Please like our Facebook page and follow our Twitter to stay updated with all the action that will be happening: leading up to our voyage to Nunavik, during the workshop, and upon our return when we deliver presentations and release our documentary.

https://www.facebook.com/artwithheart14/

https://twitter.com/artwithheart14

To make a donation to help us complete this project, please email us at: contact.artwithheart@gmail.com

Every dollar counts and goes a long way towards making this project a success!

Qujannamiik (thank you!),

Gabi

That reminds me, we have to learn some Inuktitut within the next 27 days…ikajunga (help)! Tavvauvutit (goodbye), for now.

A.W.H IN THE A.R.C.T.I.C

Eva Wu

Hi there! This is Gabrielle here, doing my first blog post after returning from an eye-opening educational expedition to the Arctic with Students on Ice. I was able to participate in the expedition thanks to an extremely generous scholarship from the Leacross Foundation, and I took advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spread the Art with Heart impact above Arctic circle. I was able to donate 4 of our original photo books to an orphanage in Uummannaq, Greenland. 3 more books went to the community of Pond Inlet in Nunavut. The final book was supposed to go to the tiny town of Resolute Bay, Nunavut, but plane delays caused us to miss our community visit to Resolute. So the last photo book went home with a good friend and fellow Students on Ice participant who will donate it to a medical centre in her hometown of Carman, Manitoba. Here are a few of my reflections from the expedition and how they relate to AWH:

Giving 4 books to the children's home in Uummannaq, Greenland!

Giving 4 books to the children's home in Uummannaq, Greenland!

At the cultural centre in Pond Inlet, Nunavut, giving 3 photo books.

At the cultural centre in Pond Inlet, Nunavut, giving 3 photo books.

There are two sides to the Arctic. The part we often hear about in the news is the stunning natural environment - from the glaciers to the flora and fauna - that is being negatively affected by a rapidly warming climate. It is my preexisting awareness about these challenges that caused me to believe that natural sciences would be the sole focus of the 15th Anniversary Students on Ice expedition to the Arctic. And it is true that as we cruised past glorious icebergs up the lush west coast of Greenland, and manouvered between the rocky islands of Nunavut, we gained a deep understanding of the Arctic environment. However, I have also come away from this expedition with a reenergized passion for the other, less publicized side of the Arctic: the social element. This would also be a good time to say that Art with Heart would like focus most of our future efforts to help our neighbours in Northern Canada with the art of photography!

Pond Inlet, Nunavut Canada.

Pond Inlet, Nunavut Canada.

During our captivating and stimulating two weeks aboard the expedition vessel, we heard directly from Northern youth and established leaders of the Inuit community about the changes they would like to see in the North. Nunavut's rates of unemployment and suicide are the highest in Canada, life-expectancy and high school graduation rates are the lowest, and the inequalities don't end there. These problems are complex yet entirely preventable. Mary Simon and Udlu Hanson - two incredible ladies who represent the Inuit people in global conversations about business and policy development - spoke strongly about the crucial role of education in solving Arctic social and economic issues. A system has to be developed that incorporates Inuit culture, so that parents will be proud to encourage their kids to stay in school. Education leads to small businesses, jobs, long-term housing and waste solutions, and endless other possibilities. In addition, programs have to be included that will improve the mental health of youth, and create hope for the future of the Arctic. Enter Art with Heart.

Just as the early European explorers could not survive without the Inuit to guide them, in order for us to make a difference in the North we need to work closely with the people that live there. Through Eva’s expedition with SOI to Antarctica, and my recent Arctic voyage, we have been fortunate enough to build connections with some amazing people from the North who are deeply knowledgeable and passionate about their culture and communities. We hope to work with them to complete the following project goal: to do photography lessons for teens in a Northern community in order to provide a creative outlet, thus improving mental health. And at the same time we would put together a short documentary-style video to raise awareness about the Arctic when we return home. Many details still have to be put together for this plan to work. For example we have yet to decide what community in which of the four Inuit regions of Canada (collectively known as the Inuit Nunangat) to visit: most likely either Nunavut or Nunavik (Quebec). This initiative will also require a lot of grant applications and fundraising, however we have already gotten a head start on that front! Earlier this summer we reached out to BUFF Canada (http://www.buffcanada.com/) and explained our mission. They were so generous as to let us print 50 custom BUFF Originals to use as fundraising material! Eva - our talent resident graphic artist - whipped up an Inuit art inspired design and it was turned into a BUFF. I brought the BUFFs to the Students on Ice welcome home event in Ottawa on August 10, and $500 worth of these awesome products were sold! Thank you BUFF and SOI for the support.

Artist and Students on Ice educator Annie Petaulassie wearing her Art with Heart BUFF!

Artist and Students on Ice educator Annie Petaulassie wearing her Art with Heart BUFF!

Robert Comeau of the Youth Arctic Coalition spoke about the importance of involving youth in decisions made about the North. He stated, “Youth are not the leaders of tomorrow, they are the leaders of today.” We are living in a time where the future of the Arctic is at a tipping point. It is being affected by countless pressures: governments trying to claim drilling rights, industries proposing shipping routes, Inuit people fighting to keep their culture alive, and the Arctic environment being threatened by rising global temperatures. Whether the scale tips one way or another, the youth of today will be living with the consequences. Art with Heart wants to do our part to ensure a healthy next generation of Arctic youth.

The Arctic is truly an amazing place to take pictures, I found it so fun and energizing to be out on deck taking pictures of the icebergs we passed.

The Arctic is truly an amazing place to take pictures, I found it so fun and energizing to be out on deck taking pictures of the icebergs we passed.

With university starting in a few weeks, we are all sure to be busy so the blog might be quiet for a while, but rest assured we are working hard behind the scenes to make this dream a reality. Until next time!

-Gabrielle

The Greenlandic town of Sisimiut, more of my expedition photos can be found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/gabriellefoss/

The Greenlandic town of Sisimiut, more of my expedition photos can be found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/gabriellefoss/

BUTTONS, THE ARCTIC, AND MORE!

Eva Wu

The buttons are IN! Most will be donated to the Dream Big Conference in Northern Ontario, and the rest we will use for fundraising purposes (more info on that to come). See picture below!

Eva Wu Button Design

Also, I have just learned that I will have to opportunity to voyage to the Arctic (Western Greenland and Northern Canada) this summer with Students on Ice, funded by an extremely generous scholarship by the Leacross Foundation (www.leacrossfoundation.ca)!! I am SO INCREDIBLY EXCITED for this expedition, and will use the pictures I will take, the information I will learn, and the experience I will gather to benefit Art with Heart's mission when I return! I hope to also bring a few Art with Heart photo books to donate to communities up North. 

Cheers (many, many cheers!!),

Gabrielle

UPDATES! SACHA SILENT AUCTION AND MORE!

Eva Wu

UPDATE #1: SACHA'S SILENT AUCTION CONTRIBUTION

The photography we contributed to SACHA's Silent Auction were sold and ended up raising $105 to support survivors of sexual violence. This is just another way we are giving art a heart!

UPDATE #2: PHOTO BOOKS!

In addition, we have just picked up the 35 photo books we ordered from the photography store (they said that was the biggest order they have ever received). We are excited to donate them to hospitals in the coming weeks. See list of sponsors below!

Thank you so much to all the sponsors who helped us reach our goal!

Thank you so much to all the sponsors who helped us reach our goal!

UPDATE #3: NUVANGO STOREFRONT (AKA ONGOING FUNDRAISER)!

We have just launched our Nuvango storefront where you can buy our original photographs and graphic art (see below) in the form of clothing, phone and laptop skins, pillows and more! This will serve as an ongoing fundraiser as all profits will be donated to AWH. Place your order HERE

One of the designs created by Eva Wu for the Nuvango storefront.

One of the designs created by Eva Wu for the Nuvango storefront.

Another design by Eva Wu for the Nuvango storefront.

Another design by Eva Wu for the Nuvango storefront.

SACHA'S SILENT AUCTION CONTRIBUTION

Eva Wu

We have printed two very large photo plaques to donate to the Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton and Area's Chocolate Fest & Silent Auction fundraiser! Hopefully our contribution will help SACHA raise money to support survivors of sexual violence, and end violence in Hamilton. This is just another innovative way Art with Heart is using our photography for good. Here are the pieces we have donated:

"On a bright sunny day, the majestic waters of Neko Harbour in the southwest region of the Antarctic Peninsula reflect back an image of pure serenity and freedom. The waters are clear and full of ice shaved off of nearby glaciers and the mountains are blanketed with snow-covered ice caps. In the distance a cruise ship steams by with hundreds of tourists on board, hoping to catch sight of some more penguins, whales, and seals."

"On a bright sunny day, the majestic waters of Neko Harbour in the southwest region of the Antarctic Peninsula reflect back an image of pure serenity and freedom. The waters are clear and full of ice shaved off of nearby glaciers and the mountains are blanketed with snow-covered ice caps. In the distance a cruise ship steams by with hundreds of tourists on board, hoping to catch sight of some more penguins, whales, and seals."

"A flowerpot is nestled in an ancient rock wall in the region of Agen, in the South of France. The sun illuminates its leaves and petals, just like this picture can light up any room."

"A flowerpot is nestled in an ancient rock wall in the region of Agen, in the South of France. The sun illuminates its leaves and petals, just like this picture can light up any room."

THE FROZEN CONTINENT

Eva Wu

Post Students on Ice Reflection by Eva Wu

Image by Eva Wu as the Students on Ice vessel M/V Ushuaia sails through the Lemaire Channel, Antarctic Peninsula.

Image by Eva Wu as the Students on Ice vessel M/V Ushuaia sails through the Lemaire Channel, Antarctic Peninsula.

The holidays were amazing for most people who got to take time off and reunite with their families, but for me, I had another adventure to embark on. For the past two weeks I journeyed with Students on Ice to a remarkable and life changing world, Antarctica.

There are truly no words in the English language that are able to capture the essence that Antarctica emanates. It's sublime beauty and power can in no way be reiterated with photos or stories, but I brought back what I could to try and portray this majestic continent.

One of the most pressing challenges that we faced everyday as we sailed through the boulders of ice was judging distance. We all knew that the mountains were big but we never knew how big. All the peaks stretched well above the clouds but it was at the point that every single mountain went well up and beyond to where the colours faded away. Standing there on the deck of the boat there it was impossible to conceive of just how far away and tall these sublime beauties stood.

There was this one time when we watched an avalanche fall from halfway up the mountain and it gave us just a glimpse of the grandeur. We heard the boom, we saw the crack, and we saw the fall. The snow fell like a waterfall from the peak, but slowly, ever so slowly. The stream of light grey drifted down like a feather on a summers day.

After that we realized just how mighty this land is. As the captain of a British Antarctic Survey Base said to us, "Antarctica takes no prisoners." If we fall down a crevice or tumble down a cliff, we would be done.

An iceberg that floats by our ship, taken by Eva Wu.

An iceberg that floats by our ship, taken by Eva Wu.

It is even harder to imagine if all of this were to disappear. Should the climate change more than it has already then the glaciers would disappear and the mountains would fade away. The future generations would not be able to truly appreciate this other world and understand the otherworldly and eerie landscapes that nature can shape.

If my time in Antarctica has taught me anything it is that every action counts towards preserving our environment and habitats. There is truly no other place in the universe that is like Antarctica, and all I can hope for after I relay my memories is that this world can act as a catalyst for people to preserve our Earth and our people.

With these images Art with Heart can incorporate them into the photo albums and installation projects that will soon be popping up all over Toronto. We can make the most out of this chilly expedition to send those in need to a whole new other world so that we can develop and grow together.