A breath-taking new photography exhibition at the National History Museum looks at our complex relationship with the environment through exploring the Polar Silk Road and the vast inhospitable beauty of the Arctic. 

The Polar Silk Road the name for the area in the Arctic in which shorter sea routes have been opening up due to the melting Arctic Sea ice.

The melting ice is one of the impacts of climate change, and one that is now creating opportunities for trade and access to natural gas and oil deposits in the Arctic.

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The Polar Silk Road is also the name of an exhibition by Austrian artist and photographer, Gregor Sailer, which opens at the museum on May 26, 2023. 

The Resident: Barracks I, Kangerlussuaq, West Greenland, 2019Barracks I, Kangerlussuaq, West Greenland, 2019 (Image: Gregor Sailer)

In his photography and filmic works, Sailer has documented the manmade structures mining these new opportunities which are now populating the Polar Silk Road, from isolated research centres to geothermal power stations. 

He has also captured the changes in the Arctic as people increasingly build on, exploit and research it. 

Sailer says: 'Global warming and its impacts in the Arctic is a topical issue that affects us all, even if it is geographically far away.  

The Resident: North Warning System III, Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, Canada, 2020North Warning System III, Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, Canada, 2020 (Image: Gregor Sailer)

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'This northern-most region of the world has been profoundly affected by the climate crisis, making scientific research there more urgent.'

The Polar Silk Road free and you can find it int the NHM's Jerwood Gallery from Friday May 26, 2023, replacing the current installation curated by artist Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, The Lost Rhino. 

Address: Cromwell Road, SW7 5BD

Website: nhm.ac.uk