Bondar unveils powerful photo exhibition at hometown gallery

Bondar unveils powerful photo exhibition at hometown gallery

More than ten years of international bird migration research and photography were unveiled at the Art Gallery of Algoma Wednesday as the Sault native presenting the opening of her exhibition ‘Patterns & Parallels: The Great Imperative to Survive’

More than 10 years of bird migration photography and research was displayed for the first time at the Art Gallery of Algoma on Wednesday by one of Sault’s most famous citizens.

Dr. Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian woman and neurologist in space, was joined by 150 residents, digitaries, family members, and other colleagues at the art gallery for an exclusive first-look at her photographic exhibition entitled ‘Patterns & Parallels: The Great Imperative to Survive.’

Featuring 53 photos, Bondar’s research project, called the AMASS (Avian Migration Aerial, Surface, Space) or ‘Space for Birds,’ had collaborated with NASA to track the pathways of seven unique avian species from the ground, water, and space.

The retired neurologist’s environmentally protective project has taken her team with the Roberta Bondar Foundation to practically every corner of the planet since the early 2010s.

Tying the bow on this portion of the photo gallery this week, while watching locals gaze at the dozens of detailed images, was well worth the wait for the astronauts.

“Every one of these images has a story to it,” Bondar told SooToday. “To see the end result – it goes back to originally what I wanted to do which is great.”

Bondar says some of the photographs, particularly the ones taken from space, took years to capture.

Her migratory bird work has taken her team to six continents and focuses on seven global species of birds that face endangerment, including the Whooping Crane, Lesser Flamingo, Black-tailed Godwit, Piping Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Red Knot, and Sprague’s Pipit.

“We want to protect them, and that’s the idea of ​​the whole exhibit,” said Bondar. “These creatures are very fragile. I think I’ve done what I want to do with this group, but I’m still working forward on other species.”

Sault Ste. Marie mayor Matthew Shoemaker spoke to a crowd of patrons during the formal portion of the evening, and commended Bondar’s tireless efforts to spread the importance of defending the environment through capturing the stunning photographs.

“These images communicate the important messages about climate change and the impact it has on our world,” he said. “That you’ve chosen to unveil these images at your hometown gallery is extra special for us.”

“There is nowhere in Canada that is more proud to call you their own than your hometown of Sault Ste. Marie.”

Bondar’s photo exhibition can be viewed at the Art Gallery of Algoma until Oct. 15.

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