Ice in the Palm House

Jason van Bruggen

Ice in the Palm House places images of contemporary life in the High Arctic amidst the tropical flora of Toronto’s historical Allan Gardens, creating a juxtaposition that emphasizes contrasts between warm and cold, lush and arid, and, ultimately, the south and the north. Inuit communities are traditionally the territory of clichéd notions of exploration, adventure, and tragedy, but this exhibition seeks to reveal both the joy and isolation found in these remote areas. Jason van Bruggen’s images present an engaging and personal perspective that points to how, over the last two generations, community residents have given up traditional ways of life due to disruptive cultural and climactic changes.

Based on a series of intrepid journeys north of the Arctic Circle, van Bruggen’s images capture the vulnerability of the ecosystems and the people who live within them, illuminating a tension between the strength and fragility of a region where scarcity fosters incredible ingenuity, resilience, hospitality, and warmth.

Curated by Natalie MacNamara