Zaria Forman: An artist’s view of climate change

Documenting climate change has become an artistic endeavor for Zaria Forman.

The Brooklyn-based artist is known for her pastel drawings depicting Earth’s shifting landscapes – from the rising coastlines of the Maldives to the melting ice of the glaciers of Greenland.

 Zaria Forman: An artist’s view of climate change

Zaria Forman: An artist’s view of climate change

Zaria Forman: An artist’s view of climate change

Zaria Forman: An artist’s view of climate change

Zaria Forman’s pastel drawings of some of the world’s landscapes are colossal, beautiful and dramatic. With a strong connection to the elements – particularly water – Zaria Forman’s works are stunning yet haunting as they depict the stark reality of the effects that climate change is having on this planet. Whilst bathing in the beauty and glory of the landscapes that Zaria Forman draws, the truth of the situation is also displayed, which not even climate change deniers can deny ultimately.

 “My drawings invite viewers to share the urgency of climate change in a hopeful way,” Zaria Forman told American Art Collection. “Art can facilitate a deeper understanding of any crisis, helping us find meaning and optimism in shifting landscapes.”

 Also a photographer, Zaria Forman bases her pastel drawings on sketches made and photographs taken while on location. In August 2012, the artist led an expedition to the north-west coast of Greenland to document the rapidly changing arctic landscape. She has also visited the Maldives, the lowest-lying country in the world, to document what is arguably most vulnerable to rising sea levels.

Zaria Forman’s passion for art and Mother Nature started early when she traveled with her family, including her photographer mother, Rena Bass Forman, to some of the world’s most remote landscapes, all of which became the subject of her mother’s fine art photography. Clearly taking inspiration from her mother, with Zaria Forman’s own creations, her pastel drawings are so life-like, the eye may perceive them to be photographs on first glance.

To create her colossal drawings, Zaria Forman uses an advanced technique of finger printing if it were. Wearing latex surgical gloves to protect her hands, she rubs soft pastels on paper and spreads them with her fingertips. The process is very delicate, with the artist breaking off the pastel into shards to render the final details.

“I developed an appreciation for the beauty and the vastness of the ever-changing sky and sea,” Zaria Forman said. “I loved watching a far-off storm in the western desert plains; the monsoon rains of southern India; and the cold arctic light illuminating Greenland’s waters.”

Zaria Forman is currently on exploration in Antarctica, where she was invited aboard the National Geographic Explorer as an artist-in-residence.

“In my work I explore moments of transition, turbulence and tranquility in the landscape and their impact on the viewer. In this process I am reminded of how small we are when confronted with the powerful forces of nature. The act of drawing can be a meditation for me, and my hope is that the viewer can share this experience of tranquil escape when engaging the work.”

Rosalyn Medea is an intuitive reader, spiritual life coach, journalist and creative warrior. She endeavors to breathe Life & Soul into everything she does – be it through helping creatives to acknowledge and accept their true self and live the life their Soul desires at; honing her psychic skills at and; and through her writings at


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