“There is freedom waiting for you, On the breezes of the sky, And you ask "What if I fall?" Oh but my darling, What if you fly?”― Erin Hanson
With the words “What if I fall?” And “What if I fly” tattooed on his neck as a reminder, mural artist Sean Yoro is quite literally a personification of this statement. Often going to extreme — even perilous — lengths in the name of his work, Yoro (also known as Hula) is notorious for painting grand murals in locations where the environment is crumbling around them. Last year, Yoro took his adventuresome art to the arctic waters of Baffin Island and onto an unlikely canvas — the melting and cracking sheets of ice. His mission was to paint a portrait of a local Inuit woman, thereby sharing the story of the Inuk people and their struggle to survive amongst a deteriorating landscape. In the words of the portrait’s muse, Jesse Mike: “For most people, it’s about the polar bears, not the people. Let’s make it about the people.”
In collaboration with The North Face, our friends at Camp4Collective joined Yoro for the ride, camping out on the ice, documenting the journey and searching for hours and hours for the right slate of frozen water. Although the ice was splitting and separating around him, Yoro was able to finish the portrait just minutes before the ice broke apart and the piece was lost forever.
The installation served as a symbolic testament to the nearly inhospitable conditions the Inuit reside in and shed light on the strength and resilience of the Inuk people. Set to music from Marmoset artists Jeff Whitcher, Keen Collective and JNUARY, watch the stirring short film below and enjoy.