Idaho’s Pioneer fire had the dubious distinction of being the largest wildfire in the US during the 2016 fire season. The Pioneer fire burned 188,000 acres of the Boise National forest in Southern Idaho and the total cost of fighting the fire exceeded $95 million. A fire of this magnitude does not go unnoticed and even attracts international interest.
Although the fire was unfortunate, wildfires in Idaho are commonplace. Just as the snow accumulates to a lesser or greater degree each winter in the mountains, the hot and dry conditions of the summer produce wildfire seasons of varying intensity. Because of this natural rhythm that occurs each year in the Gem State, Building a Greener Idaho has chosen a Fire and Ice theme for the months of January and February. January will focus on fire, February on ice.
We begin January’s series on fire in Idaho by interviewing Sicilian artist Giuseppe Licari. Giuseppe’s exhibit Contrapunto (Italian for Counterpoint) was recently hosted at Ming Studios and featured actual burnt trees from the Pioneer fire to demonstrate the potentially disastrous outcomes of wildfires, and to inspire community efforts to manage a healthy environment. Giuseppe hopes that his work inspires viewers to consider all aspects of our responsibility to maintain the health of our environment, from electing wise leaders, to making connections between our actions and changes to our climate that increase the propensity for mega-fires such as the Pioneer fire. Ming Studios founder Jason Morales joins our conversation to add context on the role of local art exhibitions in inspiring a sense of community and responsibility and exposing the public to ideas that can be hidden from overt view in our large and multi-faceted world.
Contrapunto has moved on from Boise, but you can view images of the haunting installation on Ming Studio’s website.
You can listen to a podcast of our interview below.
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