About the expedition

Amidst a crippling global pandemic the likes of which the world has not seen in hundred years, and Ukrainian atrocities reigniting a Cold War nuclear brinksmanship that the world thought gone for the last seventy-five, we resolutely sail. The Kõmij Mour Ijin expedition aims to bring worlds together to tell a compelling story that will capture the public’s imagination - globally. We voyage to learn and appreciate—to remember, to reimagine, to reinvent.

We voyage to reaffirm our home is right here.

The Kõmij Mour Ijin/Our Life Is Here Marshall Island expedition took place in August 2023 aboard the research Vessel M/V Pacific Master for 12 days. Cyclically sailing 450 nautical miles of Pacific Ocean, its voyagers experienced island cultural knowledge and traditional maritime navigational skills, honoured the precious and ancestral irradiated atolls of Bikini and Rongelap, visited the people of pristine rural Wotho atoll, connected with densely urban Ebeye Island on Kwajalein Atoll. Fifteen years of ocean expeditions have given Cape Farewell experiential knowledge of how a group of diverse and creative people can produce work both individually and collectively, creating a uniquely resonant cultural voice larger than any one of its separate makers.

Joining the journey, were six Marshallese youth artists, aged 18-25, sailing aboard an additional research vessel, the M/V Surveyor from Majuro Atoll. Together the team’s mission was to explore the contemporary resilience of Marshallese culture, the dark and continuing legacy of the American atmospheric nuclear testing program that brutally violated it amidst the Cold War, and the profound national vulnerability of the Atolls to sea level rise caused by the global climate crisis. The Marshalls, with an average height of 6 feet above sea level, are located in the centre of the ocean amidst water that is rising at an accelerating rate. Having directly endured the devastating fighting of Japanese and Americans during the Pacific War, followed by the Armageddon of over a decade of U.S. nuclear testing, the Marshallese now confront the possibility of their home becoming uninhabitable within a single lifetime. 

All these colonial monsters came from afar, and Marshallese resilience and creativity in tackling them head-on serves as an inspiring example to the global community that created — and still struggles to contain — these same demons. Marshall Islanders have survived and thrived for millennia: their wisdom gleaned from the horrors of the 20th century, and their ongoing tenacity in the 21st, has much to teach the rest of the world about true commitment to land and our shared home on planet Earth. 

Using material gathered during the expedition as well as creative work and science honed after, Cape Farewell will produce a major touring museum exhibition and catalogue, debuting in 2025. The exhibition and book will communicate to a global audience just how relevant the Marshallese story of seventy thousand isolated people and their violated coral atolls is to the larger planet.

In addition to the exhibition and book, expedition participants will later narrate a documentary film made from trip material, amplifying the message that a sustainable human existence is possible if we examine the past carefully, truly engage with present challenges, and consciously dream a different future. Great work is being done by Western scientists, artists and conservationists. Great work is being done by the people of the Marshall Islands and larger Oceania. 

Kõmij Mour Ijin brings them together in deep resonance.

Meet the expedition team