“Chasing the Light” with Zaria Forman

This post submitted by Zaria Forman, artist and co-leader of the Chasing the Light journey to the western coast of Greenland. Zaria’s enthusiasm for drawing began early in her childhood, when she and her family traveled to some of the world’s most remote landscapes, the subject of her Mother’s fine art photography. A Cum laude graduate in Studio Arts from Skidmore College, Zaria has exhibited extensively at galleries and venues throughout the United States and overseas. She created a series of drawings that served as the set design for the classic ballet “Giselle”, which premiered in October, 2012 at the Grand Theatre of Geneva, Switzerland. A number of her drawings were used in the set design for “House of Cards”, a Netflix TV series directed by David Fincher and starring Kevin Spacey. Zaria, along with artist Lisa Lebofsky, will be at the Museum for one month starting on 4/26/13 as artists in residence. Come watch them at work.

What an adventure we had sailing up and down the Northwest coast of Greenland!  We explored ice choked fjords, mountaintops dotted with blueberries and Arctic poppies, glacial waterfalls and tiny Inuit communities where sled dogs far outnumbered humans. We ate muskox burgers and reindeer heart, saw fulmars nesting and whales breaching. I am filled to the brim with inspiration and eager to begin a new body of work! Sorting through 10,355 photos will be the first step.

Following a section of the route William Bradford took while aboard the Panther (1869) we found several locations photographed by John Dunmore and George Critcherson, the photographers hired by Bradford to help him document the voyage. As Bradford did in the nineteenth century, I will refer in my work to photographs captured in Greenland, my sketches drawn en route, and most importantly my memory of the experience.

Greenland #56, 40″x 60″, soft pastel on paper, 2012
Greenland #54, 40″x 60″, soft pastel on paper, 2012








My mother, Rena Bass Forman, conceived the idea for Chasing the Light, but sadly did not live to see it through. During the months of her illness her dedication to the expedition never wavered, and I made a promise to carry out her final journey to honor her. In Greenland, I scattered her ashes amongst crackling ice diamonds, on the towering peak of one of earth’s oldest stones and under the green glow of northern lights. She is now a part of the landscape she loved so much. I am deeply grateful for the team of talented artists and scholars and the Wanderbird captains and crew for helping me carry out her wishes and realize her dream.

Zaria Forman