Art & Climate Change 

September 1, 2023

Fogo Island Arts’ partnership with the National Gallery of Canada, the World Weather Network, and contemporary artist Liam Gillick, is shaping a global conversation around art, climate, and the importance of place. 

People gathered at the Weather Station during Arts Weekend on Fogo Island. Photo by Joshua Jensen.

When Fogo Island Arts first approached artist Liam Gillick to create a ‘weather station’ on Fogo Island in response to the global climate crisis, it was immediately clear to Gillick that this would be a tremendous opportunity to ground important global conversations within the context of a local community.  

“Art and science have always been linked historically,” Gillick explains. “Through this artwork I want to create a site for new thinking and a space designated to climate consciousness rooted in the basic requirements to gather and share data, while also being a place for education, reflection, discussion, and just getting together.” 

Launched in October 2022, along Waterman Brook’s trail near the community of Fogo, “A Variability Quantifier, 2022,” (more commonly known as the Fogo Island Red Weather Station), is a fully functioning weather station tracking weather data and a place for community gathering. Through the World Weather Network platform, it joins a constellation of art-inspired weather stations around the globe that are shaping conversations about the climate crisis through the perspective of artists, with many calling attention to the more dire situation in remote, ecologically sensitive areas of the world. 

The Fogo Island Red Weather Station construction team. Photograph by Joshua Jensen

“Artists help us see things and Fogo Island Arts has always been interested in approaching issues of economic, cultural, historical, and environmental concern through a different lens,” says Iris Stunzi, Fogo Island Arts’ Program Manager.  

“Fogo Islanders’ have a front row seat to changes in ‘Iceberg Alley,’ Gillick adds. “There is a lot of collective awareness and wisdom on this island. The artwork is about recognizing the daily consciousness of an island life; it is for and about the people of Fogo Island.”  

As a nod to the traditional and primary industry on Fogo Island, the weather station was designed with Fogo Island’s historic fishing stages in mind, a reminder of our powerful connections to the sea. For visitors to Fogo Island, witnessing the strong relationship between geography and people can often be a catalyst for involvement. This was the case with Steven and Lynda Latner, Inn guests who were inspired by their time on the island and wanted to lend support to our work. Their donation is helping to animate the Weather Station through programming.

Long reliant on triangulated weather updates from Twillingate, Fogo Islanders now have access to accurate, realtime weather data through an easily accessible website linked to the Weather Station that also acts as a repository for global weather-tracking.

Track the Weather: Fogo Island Weather Station

An acquisition of the National Gallery of Canada, The Fogo Island Red Weather Station is part of its National Outreach Initiative in which artworks from the collection are sited and maintained at localities across the country.