Jyoti Duwadi

American, b. Nepal, 1947

Melting Ice, a site-specific installation for the Whatcom Museum, 2013
Ice blocks, 10 x 10 x 10 ft. (304.8 x 304.8 x 304.8 cm)

Jyoti Duwadi’s installation Melting Ice, sited in the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher courtyard for the inauguration of the Vanishing Ice exhibition, gives tangible form to the retreat of glaciers and ice sheets around the world. The artist, along with a team of assistants,  stacked blocks of ice to create a large cube —approximately 10 x 10 x 10 feet—that was left to melt. A webcam was installed to capture the melting ice whose shapes and dimensions were continuously changing.

The artist constructed his first Melting Ice installation at the Kathmandu Biennial 2012.  Additional installations were created at the El Paso Museum of Art, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, and the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.  

Jyoti Duwadi, Red Earth Vanishing Ice (detail), 2008, mixed media installation

Duwadi first addressed climate change in 2008 with Red Earth-Vanishing Ice, a mixed-media, site-specific installation at the Sundaram Tagore Gallery, New York City. The artist suspended a block of ice from the ceiling. Each day, the ice was replenished and left to slowly melt on a rock nestled within a sculptural assemblage of handmade vessels. The installation symbolized the purity of water, its scarcity as a natural resource, and the meltdown of Himalayan glaciers.

The artist developed an appreciation for alpine mountains while living in Darjeeling, India. He was also inspired by the art of Nicholas Roerich, whose paintings he know indirectly through a signed illustrated book that was a gift of friendship from the Russian artist to his grandfather, the poet Dharani Dhar Koirala. After attending a Theosopical school in Varanasi and immigrating to the United States where he received a PhD in political science, he changed direction and began painting cosmic landscapes inspired by the Himalayan giant Mount Kanchenjunga.