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EARTH DAY WITH “GAIA” ON KEY BISCAYNE

Written By Taima Hervas
April 22, 2023 at 4:42 PM

“Gaia,” the global touring art installation by Luke Jerram will be on display for a week of Earth Day events over the Monaco Reflecting Pool, Key Biscayne. This is a photo mockup of the installation which measures nearly 23 feet in diameter and is a scale replica of Earth, created using detailed NASA imagery of the planet’s surface. (Photo courtesy of Luke Jerram)

“Gaia,” the global environmental traveling art installation by British artist Luke Jerram and seen by 15 million people in more than 25 countries since 2019, including taking center stage at Cop26 in Glasgow, opens on the eve of Earth Day 2023 at the Monaco Reflecting Pools on Key Biscayne. The art exhibit includes a rich and varied schedule of free interactive events for public participation from April 21st to May 7th.

Young boy looking at “Gaia” art exhibition with the Earth reflected in his eyes, Gaia, at W5 in Belfast, 2019. Photographer or (Photo courtesy of Luke Jerram)

Jerram’s “Gaia” is an enormous, internally illuminated, seemingly floating, 23 foot diameter, accurate scale replica of Earth, utilizing detailed NASA Earth imagery. The installation aims to create a sense of the Overview Effect, of the experience for astronauts of looking back on Earth from the darkness of space and feeling awe for the planet Earth, as described by space philosopher Frank White, in his book “The Overview Effect — Space Exploration and Human Evolution,”

The installation is accompanied by a sound track by multi-award winning composer and sound designer Dan Jones. “The music helps paint an atmosphere and also steers the interpretation of the artwork. The music has Apollo astronauts talking about the overview effect, and it’s got kids talking about climate change. There’s the sounds of the sea, sounds of whales or a whole range of science and art,” shared Jerram.

Artist Luke Jerram stands beside “Gaia” (Photo courtesy of National Environment Research Council (NERC)

Jerram pointed out, “As an artist, I’m able to create strong imagery, in this particular artwork talking about climate change and the problems we face, I tried to do that in a way that’s both inspirational as well as scientifically accurate. I think we need artworks that point people towards solutions.”

“I’m aware that we’re in the middle of the sixth mass extinction of species on the planet. And if we’re not careful, we’re heading towards triggering a whole series of tipping point events that will then cause climate change to sort of spiral out of control. I’m hoping “Gaia” will create a sense of awe and wonder. I hope the public to appreciates what we’ve got to lose,” explained Jerram from London in conversation about “Gaia.”

Co-hosted by the Village of Key Biscayne and the Key Biscayne Community Foundation, the “Gaia” installation is the centerpiece of the grand opening ceremonies for Key Biscayne’s new public Paradise Park and community gathering space. Free events and activities offer everything from youth drawing and poetry writing, active senior dance performances, music, yoga, tai chi and more.

Melissa White, Executive Director of the Key Biscayne Community Foundation, who first learned about Jerram’s “Earth” thanks to her close collaboration with other local community foundations, in particular, the Coral Gable Community Foundation, who exhibited Jerram’s “Moon” in March, shared that the Key Biscayne Community Foundation, “is proud to support this extraordinary art installation, a powerful reminder of the crucial need for environmental protection and conservation.” White saw two great reasons to bring Gaia to Key Biscayne, first to celebrate our Earth Day opening celebrations for the new Paradise Park, a green space rehabilitated from a former gas station, and also to bring visitors awareness to become better informed and hopefully to help them better advocate for the environment.

Video link: “Gaia” – Touring Earth artwork by Luke Jerram www.my-earth.org

White has a profound, long term commitment to the environment on Key Biscayne. “It was 12 years ago that we started the Key Biscayne Citizen Scientist Project with the idea that we would raise awareness about the natural resources of not just Key Biscaye but also Virginia Key, two very important barrier islands for Miami Dade County. We wanted to make everyday residents or visitors to these wonderful islands aware of natural resources and to advocate for them. I think where we are today versus yesterday or 10 years ago, it is getting better…You can’t change policy, unless you advocate or work toward that change.”

Key Biscayne Village Manager, Steve Williamson believes the “Gaia” exhibit highlights the opening of Paradise Park, celebrates Earth Day, and embodies his deep rooted connection with nature. “I grew up in nature, hiking the national parks with my father, I can’t imagine not having that as part of my life. I think its’ important to do anything we can to keep nature closer to us. This is a big moment for the Village of Key Biscayne, I think by highlighting a green space right in the civic center we’re telling our community how important it is. And it is beautiful,” stated Williamson.

A boy flies towards the Earth with help from his father at the “Gaia” art installation at W5 in Belfast, 2019 (Photo courtesy of Luke Jerram)

Anne Rothe, School Director of the Key Biscayne Presbyterian School plans to take 20 of her five, six and seven year old students to see “Gaia, to take photos as part of their photography class, then write poems about their experiences. Rothe explained. “During the course of the year, our kindergarten teacher, a professional photographer, spends time with the students looking at objects really closely and doing a lot of macro work so they really have to see the details, the little things on this planet, that are beautiful and special and unique. So, I’m hoping that they’re now going to walk over there and see the big planet. And honestly what I’m hoping for is just a sense of awe, because that’s what I want for them every day when we’re out in nature.”

IF YOU GO
WHAT: “Gaia: The Earth on Key Biscayne” Free Art Exhibition, Activities and Performances
WHERE: Monaco Reflection Pools, 530 Crandon Boulevard, Key Biscayne, FL 33149
WHEN: Friday, April 21 – Sunday, May 7, For display three days each week at various points in time, refer to schedule of events kbcf.org/gaia
COST: Free
INFORMATION: (305) 361-2770 or kbcf.org

 

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