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Norwegian artist unveils Antarctica ‘ice bridge’ at UN

By AFP (Agence France Press) - December 18, 2007

Norwegian artist Vebjorn Sand unveiled an ice bridge made of frozen Antarctic water at a ceremony on the UN headquarters grounds late Monday to highlight the threat of melting glaciers resulting from global warming.

“Welcome to Antarctica,” the Norwegian painter and public art creator told a small crowd gathered in crisp weather on a plaza on the UN grounds as he took the wraps off his exhibit entitled “Antarctica: On Thin Ice.”

“I am trying to say that Antarctica must never melt because this is a piece of Antarctica,” he told AFP, two days after 190 nations sealed a deal, at a climate change summit in Indonesia, fixing a 2009 deadline for a new treaty to tackle global warming.

The ice sculpture, based on a Leonardo da Vinci design and expected to melt here in a week, is similar to one Sand built on Lambert Glacier, the world’s biggest, in Antarctica a year ago.

“It’s ice from Antarctica. It’s (a replica of) a bridge I built in Antarctica last year on the glacier that must never melt, ” the Norwegian artist said, pointing out that Antarctica is estimated to lock up 75 per cent of the world’s reserves of fresh water.

Sand said he planned to build a similar ice structure in a different city every year to dramatize the risk of melting glaciers due to climate change.