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B.C. artist’s paintings bound for galactic gallery on the moon

Two of Mark Heine’s paintings will make the lunar leap aboard the Peregrine Lander in December

Mark Heine’s paintings evoke humans’ connection to the Earth and have travelled all over the globe.

There lies the irony in two of his paintings, which capture humanity’s dependence on the life-giving oceans and will be leaving the planet later this year, to live forever on Lacus Mortis, the moon’s Lake of Death.

Super compressed digital copies of the Victoria artist’s paintings, Imminent and Duress, will be included in The Lunar Codex, a collection of creative works from 3,000 artists worldwide that will be sent to the moon aboard the Peregrine Lander in December.

His two moon-bound paintings are from a series called Sirens that he’s been working on since 2014.

“The fact that this whole series of work is about trying to take care of the planet we’re on now – and then it’s going to be off on the moon – is kind of a strange contrast,” Heine said.

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“Our hope is that future travelers who find these time capsules will discover some of the richness of our world today,” says Samuel Peralta, The Lunar Codex’ payload coordinator and curator.

As his paintings await their lunar leap, it’s indescribable for Heine that his art will be among the galactic gallery.

“It basically just sits there for the rest of time,” he said. “It’s bizarre, it’s a very strange feeling to know that my work is going to be off the planet.”

Heine’s cheery personality comes out with each jovial laugh, a contrast to the mystical visuals of drowning desperation, coastal wistfulness and sorrow told by his brushstrokes in Sirens.

A digital form of this painting, Duress, by Victoria artist Mark Heine will be going to the moon later this year. (Photo courtesy of Mark Heine)

While his art is reaching the highs of space, it’s the home of Earth’s depths that inspire Heine. The oceans have been central in his life since he was young and it’s led to him putting all of his artistic might into preserving them.

He’s in the late stages of finalizing a fictional book that plays off the characters of the Sirens paintings. Heine’s artistic process has been an interplay between his paintings and his writing, with each inspiring the other along the way. The book is a contemporary interpretation of Homer’s Odyssey and tells a tale of Sirens – creatures from Greek mythology – that are harmed by mankind’s pollution, garbage and species exploitation. He hopes his storytelling will get youth fired up about environmental sustainability.

“It’s really the ocean crying out to us to try and change the way that we treat the environment,” Heine said. “It’s about trying to give a personality to the ocean.”

He sees young people burnt-out by a bombardment with gloomy climate change issues and a hurting Earth, so he hopes a different perspective will awaken their desire to be the planet’s saviours.

“I’m trying to get them interested in the story and give the environment more of a voice,” Heine said.

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Jake Romphf

About the Author: Jake Romphf

In early 2021, I made the move from the Great Lakes to Greater Victoria with the aim of experiencing more of the country I report on.
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