If you go down to Trafalgar Square next month, you’re sure of a big surprise-a polar bear-sized surprise, to be exact. From December 11, the square will play host to a powerful ice sculpture by renowned animal artist Mark Coreth, whose past commissions include The Waterhole at the Natural History Museum, which incorporates more than 50 animals. But this striking new artwork carries a stark message. Chiselled in situ by Mr Coreth, it will be left to melt, slowly revealing the bleak bronze skeleton underneath, etched with facts and figures on climate change.

Mr Coreth, a former Household Cavalry officer who served in the Falklands and who has sculpted life-size elephants, has always been interested in the whole picture, rather than individual wildlife, and was drawn to the Arctic by a need to expand his knowledge of this remote but relevant-eco-system.

‘The more I spoke to my Inuit guides and to scientists, the more I realised that what one hears on climate change is very real. I felt I had to make a work that was an honest representation of the whole Arctic landscape. 

 

Ice Bear - Nelson's Column

 

 The ice bear exhibits parallel after parallel with what is happening out there.’ He adds: ‘It will be at ground level, so people can touch it. As such, they will be sculptors, and they will speed up the process-the message is that we can shape our climate. We don’t know how long the bear will take to melt, just as scientists don’t know how much time there is until the icecap melts. As the ice thins, revealing the bronze skull and the vertebrae, these elements will absorb heat from their surroundings.

The parallel here is that, when that icecap goes, it will leave a huge dark ocean that is going to absorb heat and not reflect it.’ Colin Butfield of project supporters WWF-UK says: ‘This event will bring home the immediacy of the issue and the need for urgent action by world leaders.’ Mr Coreth is producing another bear for the Copenhagen climate-change summit, which will be in place from December 5, the eventual plan being to stage ‘Bears in Squares’ in all major cities around the globe.

For more details, visit www.icebearproject.org SG

 * For more news like this every week, subscribe and save