Ingrid Koivukangas
Environmental Artist

Responding to sites around the world through works created in site specific installation, intervention, ephemeral sculpture, video, sound, web, permanent site-specific sculpture, photography, printmaking,painting & drawing.

Welcoming opportunities to work in different geographic regions & locations in the world, creating site-specific works in response to the land.



Click on the photos below to get a closer look:

Infinity Map to North Shore sites

Sky: Earth: Water: Reliquary

Clikc on the photos below to get a closer look at a few examples of the possible combinations of sky, earth and water imagery in the Sky: Earth: Water: Reliquary. The images change every 30 seconds - there are 12 sky photos, 12 water photos and 144 macro land photos.

Tree • Stone • Echo in forground with Sky: Earth: Water: Reqliuary in background






Sky: Earth: Water: Reliquary

Tree • Stone • Echo

Created for the Earth Reflections Exhibition
CityScape Gallery, North Vancouver, BC

(Intro the same as Tree • Stone • Echo)

As an environmental artist I work in response to sites in the natural world. I work intuitively at sites, with site energies - sometimes through dreams, impressions or waking dreams. Once the work emerges and is on its way to completion I will begin a site research based on local history, stories, and connections to the larger universe - celestial, botanical, animal and spiritual. Much of my work is an attempt to provide the viewer with a starting point to begin contemplating their own landscape and possibly their part in its preservation.

It is simply amazing to think that our physical bodies are made up of stardust, ancient dinosaur bones, trillions of cells that communicate with other cells, water that is controlled by the moon just as the tides are – water that is affected by our very thoughts. We breathe air that has been recirculating around the globe for millennia – we breathe the same air that our ancient ancestors once did. We are interwoven into the very fabric of the Earth – the Earth is interwoven into each of our physical beings. We also share these physical connections, and are further interwoven, with every other living being on this planet. We each carry genetic memories within us, for at one time all of our ancestors lived in harmony with the Earth and understood the delicate balance between what was seen and what was intuited

The new works created for the Earth Reflections exhibition are based on sites on the North Shore - from Deep Cove in North Vancouver to Whytecliffe Park in West Vancouver. I wanted to provide viewers with basic information on how they could access the sites I’d visited. With this in mind I overlaid a map (left) of the North Shore with an infinity symbol. The infinity symbol signifies the constantly evolving universe, the cycles of life including nature’s cycle of birth, death and regeneration. This line intersected many parks and nature areas, I chose to work at 12 of them: Bridgeman, Cates, Deep Cove, Seymour, Lynn Headwaters, Capilano, Dundareve, Lighthouse, Eagleridge, Whytecliffe, Cypress and Mahon Parks.

Numerology, a metaphysical system based on the esoteric relationships between numbers and physical objects or living beings, often enters my work. After contemplating many different numbers I decided to work with the number 12. There are 12 months in a calendar year, in China a 12 cycle system called Earthly Branches is used for time reckoning. The day is divided into two 12 hour sections, ancient measurement systems are based on 12. Astrology is based on time being divided into 12 zodiac signs and in China 12 animals. The bible has many references to including the 12 tribes of Israel, 12 Apostles and 12 Angels.

My early intention for the Earth Reflections exhibition had been to create a series of reliquaries based on each of the 12 sites. A reliquary, also known as a shrine, is a container for sacred relics. They have been used in some form by people throughout the ages. Hindus and Buddhists house reliquaries in their temples and people make pilgrimages to them. In parts of Africa reliquaries are used in rituals and can contain the bones of ancestors. They were especially popular in Medieval times and have been an important element of Christianity since the 4th Century. They can contain bones, special and/or magical objects and sometimes include the remains of holy people or holy sites.

I began with taking photographs at each of the sites thinking that the photos could somehow be incorporated into a reliquary along with natural materials collected at the sites. I had an idea that each reliquary would contain directions that would act as map of sorts to enable people to visit each of the sites - kind of a reverse pilgrimage. The viewer could begin at the reliquary, situated in a House of Art, but they would be able to access the original sacred site. It wouldn’t matter if the viewer went to the exact photo site - for truly all sites in nature are sacred - the journey and the awareness of our connections and inter-connectedness with everything around us was more the point.

As I began to see the everyday-secrets that the sites were revealing through the photographs I realized that they were already ‘the work’. The 12 original reliquaries eventually merged and became one digital reliquary consisting of three screens, representing Air, Earth and Water. Father Sky, Mother Earth and Water as the boundary between the otherworld and our world - water as the giver of life. The three screens are stacked one over the other. Sky at the top, Earth in the middle and Water on the bottom. I took over a thousand site photographs, this reliquary holds 12 sky photos, 144 site photographs (12 from each of the 12 sites) and 12 water photos. As I was working on this piece I was struck with the idea that perhaps one day all we might have left of a site are digital representations, digital reliquaries of natural sites.

NorthShore Reflections, is an artist book that has its roots in the Sky: Earth: Water: Reliquary installation work.




©Ingrid Koivukangas 2008


Copyright 2008 Ingrid Koivukangas, all rights reserved