Edward Burtynsky, Coal Mine #1, North Rhine, Westphalia, Germany (detail), 2015, photo © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy of Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto


Explore the impact of human activity on Earth through photography, film installations and interactive technologies.  

Anthropocene is a major contemporary art exhibition featuring new works from the collective of Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier. 

Through a variety of techniques, the three Canadian artists have created a spectacular and compelling visual experience inviting reflection upon the environmental and ethical issues surrounding our exploitation of Earth’s resources.

Presenting some thirty new photographic prints along with high-definition murals by Burtynsky and film installations by Baichwal and de Pencier, Anthropocene explores the effects of human activity on the planet in artworks that are at once subtle and striking. Bringing us images of places such as the Dandora landfill in Nairobi, log booms on Vancouver Island, and the Gotthard Base railway tunnel in the Swiss Alps, the collective takes an unprecedented look at the pervasive and complex repercussions of our modern way of life.

Visitors can also immerse themselves in areas undergoing rapid change, thanks to augmented reality installations and visitor-activated films. Download the AVARA mobile app in advance from the Google Play or Apple App Store or use one of the available devices in the exhibition.

This exhibition is a component of The Anthropocene Project.  

Join the conversation!  #AnthropoceneProject

Anthropocene is organized by the Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario, in partnership with Fondazione MAST.

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Friday, September 28, 2018 Sunday, February 24, 2019


National Gallery of Canada Lower Contemporary Galleries
380 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1N 9N4




(n) Proposed as a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene is defined by the permanent impact of human activities on Earth, such as terraforming through mining, urbanization and agriculture; human-caused extinction and biodiversity loss; and the global presence of materials such as plastics and concrete.




Edward Burtynsky is one of the world's most respected photographers. His remarkable photographic depictions of global industrial landscapes can be found in the collections of more than sixty major museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Tate Modern in London, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, the  …

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Jennifer Baichwal has been directing and producing documentaries for more than twenty years. Her films have been presented all over the world, and have won multiple awards nationally and internationally — including an International Emmy, three Gemini Awards, and Best Cultural and Best Independent Canadian Documentary at Hot Docs — for features such as Let It Come Down: The Life Paul  …

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de Pencier


Nicholas de Pencier is a documentary director, producer, and director of photography. Selected credits include Let It Come Down: The Life of Paul Bowles (International Emmy), The Holier It Gets (Best Canadian Doc, Hot Docs), The True Meaning of Pictures (Gemini, Best Arts), Hockey Nomad (Gemini, Best Sports), Manufactured Landscapes (TIFF Best Canadian Feature; Genie, Best Doc), … 

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Did you know?
Anthropocene will be presented simultaneously at the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario from September 2018 to the beginning of 2019. Learn more about the Toronto experience.

Featured Videos

Meet the artists of Anthropocene

Artists Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier explain how the word Anthropocene inspired their new project.

Curator Andrea Kunard on Anthropocene

Get a first look at our Anthropocene exhibition with Andrea Kunard, Associate Curator, Canadian Photography Institute. 

Related Content

Anthropocene at the National Gallery of Canada is bullfrogpowered with 100% green electricity. 
Bullfrog Power's generators put 100% green power into the grid to match the amount of conventional electricity the exhibition uses, displacing energy from polluting sources. Across Canada, Bullfrog's green electricity comes from a blend of wind and low-impact hydro power sourced from new Canadian renewable energy facilities. 

Supported by

Scotiabank Photography Program


Soutenu par

Programme de photographie Banque Scotia