We are the Water

Artist : Sonja Hinrichsen
Location : Routt County, Colardo, USA
Year : 2014
Researcher : Megan Guerber

In February 2014, artist Sonja Hinrichsen invited approximately 50 volunteers to join her on a snow drawing adventure. Using snowshoes as their drawing utensils, participants gathered on top of Lake Catamount to meditatively recreate the pathways of water molecules. Titled We Are the Water, the result was a dizzying mix of spirals, curves, and zigzags across the lake’s frozen surface reminiscent of a river. Hinrichsen’s Snow Drawing series is an ongoing project that invites the public to connect with nature by methodically making beautiful patterns of an incredible scale in fresh snow. The day following their creation, Hinrichsen photographs the works from above with the help of a helicopter or drone. The photographic documentation comes across like abstract charcoal drawings made for the birds; the drawings themselves merely last until temperatures rise or another snowfall erases their existence.

For We Are The Water, Hinrichsen was invited to Steamboat Springs, Colorado to conclude a seminar that focused on the water issues of the Colorado River system. Organized by the Legacy Education Fund, the February 2014 event strived to teach community members about the Yampa River system that they rely on. In response, Hinrichsen devised a drawing that highlighted environmental changes caused by man. Because Lake Catamount is in fact a reservoir created by a Yampa River damn, she asked volunteers to pay tribute to the river that had once flown where the lake now stands still.

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Although her flight was paid for by the Legacy Education Fund, the project was otherwise funded by the artist. The Legacy Education Fund also assisted with the recruitment of community participants, however, and community members provided a place for Hinrichsen to sleep.

For the artist, this project provides him rich space for creating; For the local community, it helps to develop harmoniously; For the participants, the project not only gives them a time to interact with their environment but also arouses their imagination and improve their coordination ability. In all, it’s an forgettable experience to all participants.

All copyright belongs to Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.

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