Canadian-born artist Gregory Colbert began his career in Paris making documentary films about social issues. Filmmaking led to his work as a fine arts photographer, and the first public exhibition of his work was held in 1992 at the Musée de l’Elysée in Switzerland. For the next ten years, Colbert showed no films and exhibited none of his art. Instead, he travelled to such places as India, Burma, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Dominica, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tonga, Namibia, and Antarctica to film and photograph wondrous interactions between human beings and animals. In 2002, he launched the Ashes and Snow exhibition in Italy at the Venice Arsenale, a 125,000-square-foot shipyard owned by the Italian navy. Built in 1104, the Arsenale was originally used to construct and launch boats to sea via the Venetian canals. Ashes and Snow was the largest solo exhibition ever mounted in Italy. The interior architecture of the Arsenale provided an ideal setting for the exhibition, and served as the model for the Nomadic Museum, which debuted with the opening of Ashes and Snow in New York City in March 2005. The museum then travelled to Santa Monica in January 2006, Tokyo in March 2007, and Mexico City in January 2008. Ashes and Snow will continue its global journey indefinitely.
More than 10 million people have attended the show since its debut in Venice, Italy. The project has been embraced by visitors around the world, and inspired such critical responses as “A new master is born,” (Photo magazine) and, “The power of the images... is eternal and sacred, ” (Architectural Digest). Colbert continues his expeditions and the development of Ashes and Snow. “In exploring the shared language and poetic sensibilities of all animals, I am working towards rediscovering the common ground that once existed when people lived in harmony with animals. The images depict a world that is without beginning or end, here or there, past or present.” — Gregory Colbert, Creator of Ashes and Snowhttp://www.ashesandsnow.org/