The installation – Commensalis: The Spirit Tables of South Georgia – will commemorate the loss of whales and celebrate their recovery in South Georgia, a sub-Antarctic island rich in nature and historical heritage.
The crowdfunding campaign will go towards making the world’s most remote permanent art installation a reality, and 10% of the funds raised will support whale research and whale conservation in the Southern Ocean.
Located at the Grytviken Whaling Station, the artwork by Scottish sculptor Michael Visocchi will commemorate the loss of 175,000 whales around South Georgia between 1905 and 1965 and celebrate their return.
The artwork will become “a beacon of hope for conservation worldwide, powerfully demonstrating that ecological restoration is possible and nature heals when given the chance.”
Watch the video about how whales inspired the artist’s work and message of hope.
To make the artwork a reality, you can sponsor a Spirit Table rivet here.
Story of Recovery and Endurance
Located 800 miles north of Antarctica, South Georgia is an example of nature’s recovery and resilience.
Sixty years ago, whales were hunted to near extinction in the waters around the island. But in 2020, scientists counted 55 blue whales, an unprecedented amount since whaling ended, and last year, 1,000 baleen whales were documented feeding near South Georgia.
One of the first LT&C Examples, South Georgia’s ecosystem recovery has been achieved with conservation management and efforts such as its rodent eradication project – the world’s largest – to save native birds from extinction.
Seabird colonies on the island were nearly decimated by non-native rats and mice, which were brought to South Georgia by whalers and sealers in the late 18th century.
A key breeding ground for South Atlantic bird populations, the island was declared rodent free in 2018 after a 10-year baiting project by SGHT and Friends of South Georgia Island.
South Georgia is also known for its role in Sir Ernest Shackleton’s story of the Endurance and the history of polar exploration.
The South Georgia Museum at Grytviken, the island’s only tourist facility, receives 15,000 visitors every season.
The crowdfunding campaign ends on World Conservation Day, 28 July 2023, and aims to raise £20,000.