Artist places sculptures on melting Arctic iceberg

UUMMANNAQ, Greenland (Reuters) - A Dutch artist arranged two large sculptures on an iceberg in Greenland on Friday to raise awareness about climate change, and people will be able to monitor it online as the ice melts.

Ap Verheggen, a 45-year-old artist from The Hague, said he had built the swirling metal sculptures, which represent a dog sled, to highlight the impact of a warmer climate on the Inuit people, who struggle to move around on thinning ice.

“The sea doesn’t freeze. People can’t trust nature anymore,” Verheggen said, before the five meter sculptures were lifted by helicopter onto the iceberg.

“As an artist, I see it as a sort of mission to make people aware of what’s happening over here.”

In Uummannaq, an Inuit village of fishers and hunters on an island in northwest Greenland, the sea did not freeze enough this winter to form the thick ice needed for hunters to travel around the fjord on dog sleds.

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Meanwhile, the thin ice that did form on the sea locked their boats in the harbor, further restricting their movements.

“We see the amount of sea ice is diminishing very fast,” said Gert Polet from conservation group WWF, who helped fund the project. “A lot of ecosystems and a lot of animals depend on the sea ice for their survival, also people who live in the Arctic.”

Verheggen said he had built two sculptures to reflect the Inuit tradition to always take a companion on journeys into the unknown.

“When Inuits travel to an unknown destination, they always go in twos,” he said. “Where this iceberg is going to and when the trip ends- who knows, and therefore it’s two.”

People will be able to monitor the iceberg as it melts and drifts through the Arctic via the project’s Web site