Zaria Forman is known for her beautiful and impeccably naturalistic pastel drawings, featuring images of glistening icebergs, turbulent arctic waters and crashing tropical waves, inspired by remote landscapes and environmentally sensitive locations.
For the viewer, Zaria’s work is revelatory. From a distance her large-scale pieces are all shape, form, color —electric blues, stony blues, stormy violet greys and lit-from-within whites— adding up to a sense of great mass. Move in closer and suddenly you’re on intimate terms with ice, its permutations of cavities, mounds, ridges and hidden pools of cobalt blue, and to the effects of wind, wave and sun on a surface you now regard as tender. This is the sorcery, this is how she makes you feel—for the ice, and for all that is wrenched and vanishing in our climate change-challenged world.
Climate change has been her theme since a 2006 trip to Greenland. Her early work had focused largely on the sky—featuring moody, tumultuous clouds, and relegating the land and water beneath to the margins. After meeting the people of Greenland and learning about the vital importance of ice to their way of life, the myriad challenges of perfectly rendering it in pastels, became her focus.
Travel to remote locations and the taking of thousands of photographs is integral to her practice—both her work, and her birthright. Her mother, Rena Bass Forman, was an accomplished fine art photographer known for large-format, sepia-toned images of natural and vastly different landscapes, from Sri Lanka and Newfoundland, Labrador to the Pacific Northwest and Italy.
Zaria traveled aboard National Geographic Explorer to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands as artist-in-residence in 2015 and 2018, getting a intimate, sea level perspective on the ice. In the fall of 2017 she got her first aerial views of the Antarctic ice when she was invited to fly with NASA scientists working on Operation Icebridge, an aerial survey project.
As Zaria’s perspective shifts, she shifts the consciousness of all who see her work. And they are many: her 2016 TED Talk about her practice and the environment has 1.4 million views; her work is exhibited widely across the United States and overseas, and featured in many publications; and her 230K Instagram following grows daily.
We celebrate Zaria’s dedication and extraordinary ability to manifest the evanescent—and to engage us in loving, and protecting, the beautiful landscapes we stand to lose.
Why do you explore?
It brings me joy to witness the endless beauty on this planet, inspires my creativity, and allows me to share what I’ve seen with others.
What is your favorite Lindblad destination?
What is the dream exploration you haven’t done…yet?
The moon 😉
Name a female hero(es) and why.
Christine Tompkins, because she has dedicated her life to land & ocean conservation, preserving millions of acres, and in turn, helping all the living creatures that these places sustain (including all of us!).
What’s your advice for the next generation of women explorers?
Follow your passion, work hard, and the universe will provide!
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I don’t like ice in my drinking water.
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