Potters' Penguin Project | Claymakers | Arts | Indy Week


Potters' Penguin Project

When: Jan. 11-Feb. 11 2017

As tenacious creatures who mate for life, valiantly secure the safety of their young, and are perpetually dressed for a party, penguins are easy to romanticize. But there's nothing whimsical about the plight of the Adélie penguin colonies in Commonwealth Bay in East Antarctica, where an iceberg "the size of Rome," loosened by the rising temperature, is blocking access to the sea for the colony there and has decimated its ranks to the point of near extinction. To highlight the dire impact of global warming on the creatures of the earth, the Potters' Penguin Project unveils a colony of its own—nearly two thousand handmade clay penguins—at Claymakers in Durham. With more than four hundred participants, the project represents a genuine community effort. Although the organizers laid down pretty specific ground rules regarding height and such, they kept the ethos inclusive ("All species of penguin, real or imagined, are welcome"). The rich variety of the resulting colony speaks to the uncanny allure of penguins while reminding us that one group's extinction threatens all of us on this crowded planet, whether we swim, fly, walk, or waddle. After this Third Friday opening the exhibit runs through Feb. 11. —David Klein

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