Melting Heart

by Diewke Van Den Heuvel

Diewke (1979) mixt media artist creates a poetic work about climate change, an ode to the biggest glacier of the Alps and a way to mourn this loss.

You can’t wrap your head around this immense apocalyptic happening in history that’s about to become real. An iconic glacier with a volume of 27 billion tons of ice will melt in the next 70 years, one lifetime. Diewke created an ode to the spirits of the glacier and her surroundings and a way to mourn this immense loss we are experiencing and she made the connection to her birth land Brabant where she experiences the eects the melting has on the soil of Brabant. Our normally wetland area is in water stress, some areas are too wet, some extremely dry. Our groundwater is getting exhausted due to the warm periods that last longer than before and odd values in the rivers. The bio industry uses a lot of water and because of the use of heavy metals and fertilizer, our soil is the most polluted in Europe. On top of that our soil is kept dry on purpose for agriculture use. The Netherlands used to have moor/peat soil that grows automatically by itself and absorbs a lot of water. By keeping the soil dry, it latches and drops beneath sea level. With the rising of the sea, it accelerates even more. With Switzerland having the biggest glacier in the Alps we are going to suer from lack of water. The Swiss government is very strict, they have many rules about who and how much water you can use and they are keeping a lot of the melting water themselves to make new snow or storage. Not a lot of water is coming into the Rijn and Rhone rivers anymore, the less water runs through the rivers, the worse the soil gets.

With this ode, where you are lured into the magical beauty of this glacier and her surroundings, you are surrounded with the ice yourself and the apocalyptic sound of the melting. It is disturbing, it brings you out of balance, lets you stand still and rethink your own relationship with nature to hopefully bring you back into balance with nature again. Diewke visualizes her gratitude for nature and to give the work to the generations to come. Brabant is her soil and it is connected to these mountains that emerged from crashing tectonic plates, her work gives you a way to mourn. Diewke believes that mourning makes space in your heart and brings you into action to evolve. If you don’t mourn, you tend to flee or paralyze, two reactions she understands but are not helpful in our journey. Face it, learn and listen to indigenous people and act.

Diewke knew from the moment she saw the glacier, she had to be there, visualize the magical tragical nature of which we are part. She found her connection again and re-sculpted her DNA into her work so more people could relate to that. Essential for her work is the cooperation with other writers, soundscapers, designers, scientists and activists, all working together for the greater good.

She is now following the Rijn river and the spirits of the mountains. More of that in her upcoming projects.