Born in Saint Catharines, Ontario, in 1955
Oil Spill #1, REM Forza, Gulf of Mexico, May 11, 2010
Chromogenic print, 1/6
120.6 x 161.3 cm (sight)
Gift of Roy Lacaud Heenan, O.C., inv. 2014.302
Edward Burtynsky photographs places and events in which nature is transformed by industry. Here, he documents the largest oil spill in the history of offshore drilling. On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, operating in the Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico, exploded and sank. It released 5 million barrels of oil that poured into the Gulf of Mexico, forming a slick that covered a 160-square-kilometre surface until its undersea well was finally capped after eighty-seven days. Eleven workers were killed, others injured, and several hundred thousands of fish, marine mammals, sea turtles and birds perished as a result of the disaster. The ecological repercussions were devastating and long lasting: underwater environments were destroyed and the habitats of coastal marsh and beach ecosystems within a 1,600-kilometre radius, which included areas in five American states, were contaminated.