Association of Polar Early Career Scientists

 

© Ricardo Matias, Jukes Liu, Linde van Bets, Henrik Christiansen, Quentin Jossart (left to right)

Since September Polar Week 2019, we have been showcasing a selection of artists working across a variety of media and focusing on polar regions in their work. Through their interviews, we discussed where Polar artists draw their inspiration, which media best captures the stunning and complex landscapes of the Arctic and Antarctic, and the themes that pop up throughout their interaction with polar regions. We also discussed engagement between polar researchers and art. 

Polar Art: Draw North

McCreesh Alison PolarArtBlog PolarWeekMar2020Artist: Alison McCreesh

Instagram: @alisonmccreesh

Twiter: @alisonmccreesh

FaceBook: Alison McCreesh Illustration

Instagram: Alison McCreesh

Website: www.DrawnNorth.ca

 

What medium(s) do you work in? How did you choose that medium?

I work in a variety of mediums.

I have a fibre arts practice where I develop large hangings out of felted wool. It's a medium I love for many reasons, most notably because it has a strong cultural connection to the north around the world. 

I also work as a cartoonist, drawing and writing graphic novels and comics. I publish short pieces in magazines and my two full-length books are 'Ramshackle, A Yellowknife Story' (2015) that explores the reality in living off grid in what is otherwise a modern government town and Norths, Two suitcases and a Stroller around the Circumpolar World (2018) that is based on six months of travel North of 60 with my partner and small child.  

McCreesh Alison PolarArtBlog PolarWeekMar2020 2

McCreesh Alison PolarArtBlog PolarWeekMar2020 3Finally, I run a business in Yellowknife that offers illustration and graphic recordings services. In that capacity, I work with clients to create visuals to communicate information in ways that are engaging and wide-reaching.

Though my work varies in mediums, there are clearly common threads. Contemporary day-to-day life in the north, in all its complexity, is a theme that carries through the vast majority of my projects. I generally try to combine the anecdotal and the documentary to present an intimate and relatable picture of the northern parts of the globe. 

How and why did you decide to focus on the polar regions in your work?

Ever since falling in love with the north and subsequently moving to Yellowknife over a decade ago, this part of the globe has been the focus of my creative work. The themes I have been interested in have shifted over the years, but the north is a constant. When I first arrived, I thought a lot about the "Idea of North". I was interested in the romantic frontier imagining and how it contrasted with reality. In that spirit, I became interested in what could and should be considered heritage in a young town like Yellowknife. Over time, I became more interested in the Circumpolar North as a whole. These days, I am looking at this global north with a focus on some of the shared history of the past century - mining, militarization, economic development, colonialism, etc.  At this moment, where a lot of climate related decisions will directly impact the north, I want people to help people learn about, and therefore hopefully care about, this part of the world.

McCreesh Alison PolarArtBlog PolarWeekMar2020 4What polar themes or imagery do you typically focus on? 

Throughout my different projects, my main focus is the people. I'm interested in the contemporary day-to-day life in the north, in what people have experienced and on what lies ahead. I'm interested in all the rapid changes the populations have seen, willingly or otherwise, over the past few generations. 

Do you have any advice for polar scientists and researchers who might like to engage more with using art to share their results and research?

I think art and visuals are a crucial and often underestimated tool when it comes to communicating and engaging. When I do graphic recordings or create fully illustrated infographics, I find it reaches a broad audience. It's not a case of "dumbing it down", rather it makes often dense materials more palatable and more alive. It draws people in and it piques their interest. It also helps reduce barriers when it comes to languages and terminology. I'm always pleased too at how much scientists also like seeing theirs and others' work rendered visually!

McCreesh Alison PolarArtBlog PolarWeekMar2020 5

What reactions do you often receive to your art?

Throughout my work, the human aspect is what seems to speak to people most. I dwell on small details to make my pieces real and relatable and the audience always enjoy that. When I exhibited work about Nunavut in northern Russia, people grinned when they saw jerry cans and snowmobiles. Likewise, when I exhibited in Iceland, locals liked my depictions of a "super jeep".  In some of my work, I try to prompt thought or discussion about more serious issues relating to the North, but even then I find it important to make some space for humour and smiles.

McCreesh Alison PolarArtBlog PolarWeekMar2020 6

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the polar regions today?

From my perspective, climate change is probably the biggest challenge.  As we all know, it's happening faster in the north and the impacts are very tangible. I think a lot about how it affects the people, especially those who live in small isolated communities that are already strained and struggling on several fronts. Access to the land is such a crucial part of wellness - for hunting, for culture, for transportation, for food - and having unpredictable ice and weather conditions impacts this directly.  I also think a lot about development in the north, be it resource extraction or large scale tourism, and wonder about the challenges and struggles of balancing economic opportunities with protecting the land and culture.

Do you have a favourite fellow polar (or nature) artist?

I really like the work of Casey Koyczan, who is a Tlicho Dene interdisciplinary artist from Yellowknife. He creates really thought provoking and immersive installations. Nature and indigenous culture are in the forefront of his pieces. 

© Pictures created by Alison McCreesh

Polar Art: Beauty of a Changing World

Todd Anderson was born in Rochester, Minnesota, USA. Anderson received a BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a MFA from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Over the course of several years he apprenticed and eventually became a fine art collaborative printer. For the last decade Anderson has worked as a university professor. Anderson’s artwork has been acquired by notable institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, The Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, the New York Public Library, Stanford and Yale Universities, and the U.S. Library of Congress. Anderson’s artworks have been exhibited over 100 times nationally and international including at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Anderson Todd PolarArtBlog PolarWeekMar2020 BlackfootName: Todd Anderson

Webpage: www.ToddAndersonArtist.com and www.TheLastGlacier.com 

Instagram: @toddandersonartist

 

What medium do you work in? How did you choose that medium?

My work falls into the medium of fine art printmaking. Printmaking is an umbrella term for a host of techniques (woodcuts, engraving, etching, and etc.). However, it can simply be understood as a means for creating original printed artwork onto paper. In the field, I sketch and take photographs, which are later translated in the studio into hand carved woodcuts or photopolymer gravures. The latter is rooted in a 19th century photomechanical process that allows for continuous tone photographic imagery on paper.

Anderson Todd PolarArtBlog PolarWeekMar2020 JacksonHow and why did you decide to focus on the polar regions in your work?

My intent as an artist is to share the beauty of our changing world. For the last ten years, I have been working on long-term collaborative projects with scientists, writers and fellow artists that focus on various parts of the world where the effects of global heating can be seen and scientifically verified. These projects have focused on climate driven events like tree migration in the deserts of the Southwestern United States, glacial retreat in national parks, and the like. My more recent work in the Arctic and Antarctica are natural extension of this work. I am like many people for whom getting to travel and work in the Arctic and Antarctica have been lifelong goals. I feel very lucky to have made the polar regions a part of my life.

What polar themes or imagery do you typically focus on?

Historically I have focused on creatively documenting glacial retreat. Recently I was in Antarctica with my longstanding artist collaborator Ian van Coller, who is a fine art photographer. We were in Antarctica as part of the USA’s National Science Foundation Artists and Writers Program. Our primary charges revolve around an art + science project about paleoclimatology and ice coring with a science team whose PI is John Higgins from Princeton University in New Jersey, USA.

Have you exhibited your artwork in-person or online somewhere recently or have an upcoming exhibition?

  • June 2020 Old Main Gallery in Bozeman, Montana, USA.
  • November 2020 through January 2021 Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
  • February – June 2021 Hockaday Museum of Art in Montana, USA.
  • Ongoing @ the Metropolitan Museum of Art Mezzanine Gallery Store in New York City
  • and Kai Lin Art Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Anderson Todd PolarArtBlog PolarWeekMar2020 KintlaDo you have any advice for polar scientists and researchers who might like to engage more with using art to share their results and research?

Give it a try! Art and science collaborations—for both the scientists and the artists--are superb ways to broaden one’s understanding of the world. Scientists and artists share a lot of traits including an active curiosity about the world around them. I have also noticed that both scientists and artists are often very driven people as well as highly individualistic, which makes relating to one another come easily and quickly. For me, learning and new friendships are reason enough for collaboration, but I should mention that artists can offer scientists new ways of disseminating their research to a lay public (through exhibitions, conferences, and the like). 

What reactions do you often receive to your art?

Fortunately, my experiences have been very positive. I believe that this is due, in part, to the focus my artist collaborators and I put toward visually celebrating the beauty of things like glaciers, trees, or an Arctic landscape. Our approach is all about using art to find common ground with an audience so that the project writers (scientists) can then make their case to a more engaged and receptive audience. 

Anderson Todd PolarArtBlog PolarWeekMar2020 GrinnellWhat do you think are the biggest challenges facing the polar regions today?

The polar regions are changing very fast. I was hiking north of the Arctic Circle last July in t-shirts and shorts. Polar ecosystems are on the verge of collapsing while the human presence in these parts of the world are rapidly increasing. Anyone reading this knows very well what I am talking about (e.g., pollution from new shipping lanes, new cultural and civic threats to aboriginal communities, etcetera). The historic otherness of the poles, I think, has been very important for we humans in understanding our place on the planet. Wild places—and the polar regions are the most extreme examples—are refuges for daydreams; they are places that can help us re-center and reset ourselves. As an artist, this is what I also often think about.

Do you have a favourite fellow polar (or nature) artist?

I have been working with artists Bruce Crownover and Ian van Coller for about ten years. They are definitely my favorite artists! www.CrownoverArt.com and www.IanvanColler.com 

© pictures created by Todd Anderson

Polar Art: A musician in Antarctica

Patrick Shepherd is an accomplished composer, conductor, performer, researcher and teacher, and is well-known for his work in the community and with young people. Patrick is also an Honorary Antarctic Arts Fellow, having travelled to Antarctica twice in 2003/2004 and 2016/2017, and much of his current creative work is related to those trips, including painting and poetry as well as music. Somewhat paradoxically, his experience in Antarctica led him to research the medical condition synaesthesia (altered sensory perception).

Shpeherd Patrick PolarArtBlog PolarWeekMar2020Name: Patrick Shepherd

Web: https://www.patrickshepherdcomposer.com/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtem8XS1FKI4_c-hXib0hbA

 

What medium do you work in? How did you choose that medium?

I am a professional musician so most of my creative work is done as a composer, but I also conduct, perform and teach. For as long as I can remember I have been involved in music in some form or other. However, since travelling to Antarctica, I have returned to some of my earlier interests of painting and creative writing, probably because not everything I experienced in Antarctica could be expressed in sound. As for choosing music as my main area of interest, I didn’t really, it chose me. 

How and why did you decide to focus on the polar regions in your work?

What drew me to Antarctica in the first place was a distinct fascination with ice and snow which is a really strong memory from my childhood growing up in the north-east of England. I loved “snow days” and that very particular quality of light when snow has fallen. It was therefore a natural progression for me to go there given that we are so close to Antarctica, that Antarctica has such a strong public profile here in Christchurch and there was the opportunity to do so through Antarctica New Zealand’s artists’ programme. All the stars collided for me and came at a time when I was broadening my research interests to not only create music but to examine the creative process behind it and the phenomenological backstory of what it means to be “creative”.  

What polar themes or imagery do you typically focus on?

The polar themes emerging from my work could be broadly categorised into historical, environmental and scientific, although I often find that whatever the initial stimulus, it all becomes woven together through some form of constructed personal narrative. At one point I got quite obsessed about interiors and exteriors from being inside the huts and looking out, but that idea took a back seat until recently when it resurfaced as I began work on my fourth symphony.

Have you exhibited your artwork in-person or online somewhere recently or have an upcoming exhibition?

My musical compositions have been broadcast on Radio NZ and in concerts around New Zealand, as well as overseas, with several uploaded to YouTube (see the links below). The exposure of my artwork and poetry has been largely through my university lecture sand public presentations to service organisations such as Rotary, Lions and U3A. My poetry has mainly been written to serve as words for my musical compositions.

Do you have any advice for polar scientists and researchers who might like to engage more with using art to share their results and research?

My personal philosophy around art’s relationship with science in Antarctica is that they form a symbiosis whereby each can inform and add value to the other. The artist can provide a portal through which the public can connect with concepts fronting the hard science, heightening public awareness and presenting the issues in a different way. It is not a universally held view, of course, and ars gratia artis is important in having creative work that makes its own statement irrespective of anything else, but it is something that I have found significant in how I approach my Antarctica-related creative works. I would hesitate to give anybody advice, whether they be scientist or artist, except to be open to other viewpoints and ways of expressing in whatever medium what is, essentially, a search for the truth.

What reactions do you often receive to your art?

Reactions to my work have generally been very positive as Antarctica seems to really capture people’s imagination. Listeners like to be transported there and let their imaginations run wild! I do, however, distinctly remember a primary school student asking me at the end of a presentation why my Antarctic music sounded sad. It was a very perceptive question and I think that because I tend not to use standard chords and melodies this may be partly the answer but, on reflection, I think they hit the nail on the head – for me, Antarctica is a sad place and yet I was filled with absolute joy and wonder to be there. It is something that I have been conscious of (very self-conscious of) in music I have written since then but all it has proved is that they were right.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the polar regions today?

Looking further afield, I think the biggest challenge facing the polar regions is undoubtedly climate change and ensuring that the facts and the message get delivered unequivocally to the general public. It may well be that with all the noise this becomes the toughest challenge of all.

Do you have a favourite fellow polar (or nature) artist?

During my time lecturing and research on Antarctic Arts I have come to thoroughly enjoy the works of my fellow New Zealanders Chris Cree Brown, Phil Dadson and Gareth Farr. British composer Peter Maxwell Davies’ Symphony no.8 is a magnificently constructed treatise in austerity and latent power, while for a more populist listen you can’t go past Vangelis’ soundtrack to Koreyoshi Kurahara’s movie Antarctica. I’m also intrigued by Cheryl 

Leonard’s music that uses materials gathered in Antarctica, such as penguin bones. Cheryl manages to create some amazing sounds.

 © pictures created by Patrick Shepherd

Websites and media links

https://www.patrickshepherdcomposer.com/

https://youtu.be/eoXeVD8zuCk

https://sounz.org.nz/works/11777?locale=en 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4R0BnD1UDsc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_04K2FTnof4&feature=youtu.be

Polar Art: North by Nuuk

Defibaugh Denis PolarArtBlog PolarWeekMar2020Artist: Denis Defibaugh
Instagram: @defden
Website: https://www.denisdefibaughgreenland.co

What medium do you work in? How did you choose that medium?

I am a photographer. I have always been interested in documenting the world and telling stories with a camera. My photographs have been used to illustrate editorials, publications, on assignment and through personal projects. I have produced two books of documentary
photography. Most recently North by Nuuk, Greenland after Rockwell Kent and earlier the book The Day of the Dead.

How and why did you decide to focus on the polar regions in your work?

My interest in Greenland was magnified by seeing the lanternslides that Rockwell Kent created in the 1930’s in Illorsuit, Greenland. They are like precious gems (transparencies on glass) that are activated by light. These photographs inspired my travels to Greenland to photograph contemporary Greenland’s society, culture, and environment.

What polar themes or imagery do you typically focus on?

I concentrate on the West Central Coastal region of Greenland. My photographs document the primal landscape, the cultural environment, and the people of the region. This includes the broad sublime landscape, the interaction of Inuit with the environment, daily activities of Inuit people, and their intimate portraits. My photo documentary approach is to represent life in Greenland.

Defibaugh Denis PolarArtBlog PolarWeekMar2020 2Have you exhibited your artwork in-person or online somewhere recently or have an upcoming exhibition?

These photographs have been published by RITPress in the book North by Nuuk, Greenland after Rockwell Kent in 2019. Exhibitions are scheduled for April-July at Pensacola State College’s Main Gallery and January-April and SUNY Plattsburgh’s Burke Gallery.

RIT’s University Gallery premiered the exhibition in 2019. The project can be seen on https://www.denisdefibaughgreenland.com and on http://lenscratch.com/2019/07/denis-
defibaugh-north-by-nuuk-greenland-after-kent/ to name a few sites on the web.

Do you have any advice for polar scientists and researchers who might like to engage more with using art to share their results and research?

I would encourage polar scientists, historians, and artists to do their research, meet with experienced polar visitors that have traveled to the Polar areas, and gain as much knowledge before embarking on a polar project. Collaborative projects can be key to developing a meaningful experience and successful results for your research and artwork.

Defibaugh Denis PolarArtBlog PolarWeekMar2020 3What reactions do you often receive to your art?

For the North by Nuuk... project, many people express an overwhelming sense of the culture and place when looking at the photographs. Many questions are asked about my experience. Curiosity to learn more about Greenland is expressed by many, and for people that know
Greenland, they mention that they see the real Greenland in the photographs.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the polar regions today?

My thoughts about the biggest challenges facing the polar region obviously includes climate change. The polar regions are being affected twice as fast as the rest of the world. Beyond snow melt and affects to sea animals and polar animals, hunting culture, and traditional culture is changing.

Do you have a favourite fellow polar (or nature) artist?

My two favorite polar artists are Emanuel Peterson and Rockwell Kent. They are historic artists
of Greenland of the 20th century

Please provide a website that features your work and social media handles to share with our public.

Name: Denis Defibaugh
Website: https://www.denisdefibaughgreenland.com
Instagram: @defden

Defibaugh Denis PolarArtBlog PolarWeekMar2020 4

© Pictures created by Denis Defibaugh

Polar Art: Inuit Lady

Panínguak Kjærulff Maria PolarArtBlog PolarWeekMar2020Name: Maria Panínguak` Kjærulff

Webpage: www.inuitlady.com

Instagram: @inuitlady

 
What medium do you work in? How did you choose that medium?

I work with charcoal and acrylic, drawing, ink and watercolors. I love drawing, so it was natural for me to continue with that medium. Acrylic is good because it dries fast and I can work in layers. Watercolors have been my medium of choice for the past ten years, because it is something I can work with at home, without making a mess and without requiring the large studio needed for working with acrylics.   

How and why did you decide to focus on the polar regions in your work? 

Because it is my home. 

What polar themes or imagery do you typically focus on? 

Panínguak Kjærulff Maria PolarArtBlog PolarWeekMar2020 4I don’t tie myself down to one subject, or limit myself in that way—but I have painted polar bears in regard to climate change: I have painted images with polar bears and ice melting on a 21-foot container, on a tiny stamp, and on a canvas painting that was donated for a good cause. 

When I was part of the Environmental Sculpture Biennale in Finland, I worked with what was available in stones and nature and flowers to create an environmentally sustainable piece, I called “Igloo Ruin”. …The work takes a stand towards climate change as a future flash into the past. An eternal igloo is built of stone that will not melt. A perennial Greenlandic white flower grows around the work; and a myth from time immemorial is connected to picking it up: do not pick the flower, so that it will not begin to rain. Amidst big trees, the igloo is like a holy place of nature.” (source: https://artii.fi/artists/maria-paninguak - https://artii.fi/artists/maria-paninguak-kjaerulff/)

Panínguak Kjærulff Maria PolarArtBlog PolarWeekMar2020 3In my recent work of graphic watercolors with Inuit cultural icons, I have painted a series of ‘Inuit Lady’s with Greenlandic flora. And also a rare orchid that grows a few places in Greenland. A recent painting included two narwhals. (At the same time they were released, the hunting on narwhals on the East coast of Greenland was a focus in the news, with biologists warning that the high quota for hunting narwhals threatens their existence.) 

Have you exhibited your artwork in-person or online somewhere recently or have an upcoming exhibition? 

Yes, I have exhibited my artwork in several galleries and museums in Greenland, the Nordic Countries, as well as Canada and the US. I participate in annual group exhibitions with The Associations of Artists in Greenland, KIMIK. This year, the show is in May in the Cultural House of Greenland, Katuaq. My recent work with the ‘Inuit Lady’ was portrayed in a book published in Korea by author Kim Insuk.

Do you have any advice for polar scientists and researchers who might like to engage more with using art to share their results and research? 

Visual images have a strong power to convey information. Choosing indigenous and local artist that experience the changes in the polar regions on a daily basis is a way of acknowledging their hands-on experiences with the region, culture and climate. They know things that you can’t necessarily measure or read anywhere. Giving them a voice will get you further and cooperating will give you both insights into unique worlds. 

What reactions do you often receive to your art?

Panínguak Kjærulff Maria PolarArtBlog PolarWeekMar2020 2With my large painting on the 21-foot container, the local people of Greenland associated the swimming polar bears with a spiritual dreamy take on the animal, which I enjoyed. The Inuit Ladies are popular in that it is a new take on cultural images with a fresh twist. Another reaction is that people wish for me to go further than Greenland with my work. Beyond this small community. 

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the polar regions today? 

Global warming, information and education. In regard to the narwhals being overhunted, I find a clash between culture and facts. There is a lot of emotions and identity tied with old traditions, that are sensitive and risky for politicians to deal with, if they want to take the sustainable and responsible choices needed. Another big concern is all the social problems that need a great change of focus and structure, in order to really deal with and get to the root of the problems. It’s deep and connects to everything else in life here: families, schools, education, jobs, drugs, motivation, empowerment, etc. 

Do you have a favourite fellow polar (or nature) artist? 

I have admiration for many of my fellow artists in all fields, local as well as abroad. To me, it is people made of the same lump of clay as myself. The favourites are those, who manage to speak to my heart and values with humility and kindness. Respecting others and themselves. That is an art in itself. 

Please provide a website that features your work and social media handles to share with our public. Thank you!

Maria Panínguak` Kjærulff

www.mariagreenland.com

Facebook: @mariakjaerulffofficialpage

Facebook/Instagram: @mariagreenlandart

www.inuitlady.com

Facebook/Instagram: @inuitlady

© All pictures created by Maria Panínguak` Kjærulff

Polar Art: La Reina

Name: La Reina (Natalia Lopez)Natalia Lopez

Página: https://lareina-natalialopez.com/

Instagram: @lareinaunica

We are celebrating September Polar Week 2019 showcasing world-class artists working across a variety of media and focusing on polar regions in their work. The following artist is known is her motherland Colombia as ‘La Reina’, a pseudonym adopted by Natalia Lopez. La Reina travelled to Antarctica with the Colombian Antarctic National Programme; her project Detenerse a respirar al final del mundo (“Stop to breathe at the end of the world”) was her maiden voyage to the White Continent. La Reina’s interview is only available in her native tongue, Spanish. Disfrutenla!  

Cual es el medio que empleas para tus expresiones artísticas? Por que lo has elegido?

Uso diferentes medios, el concepto de la obra o el proyecto me llevan a escoger el medio, pero sí tengo más afinidad por la video-instalación, aunque también trabajo mucho dibujo, fotografía, intervenciones objetuales, por ejemplo. En el caso del video, normalmente lo selecciono porque encuentro en él la posibilidad de comunicar una idea donde la imagen, el sonido (o su ausencia) y el tiempo, me permiten transmitir de manera poética mis emociones frente a esa idea.

Natalia Lopez Polar Art BlogComo y porque decidiste enfocar tu trabajo artístico en las regiones polares?

Desde que era niña existe en mí un encanto por las zonas polares, particularmente por la Antártida, creo que tiene que ver con lo inhóspito, y con la estética del frío (blancos, azules, grises, poco ruido visual y sonoro). La sensación de soledad y de confín, me han atraído siempre, pero aparte de eso tengo una relación muy fuerte con el medio ambiente, un amor extremo por la naturaleza y siento que aquellos ecosistemas que, aunque sean muy fuertes, se caracterizan por su fragilidad (polos, páramos (acá me refiero a los ecosistemas de alta montaña presentes en Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador y Perú y que representan nuestras "fábricas" de agua), nevados, etc), requieren una atención particular y generan en mí mayor necesidad de trabajar sobre ellos, de visibilizarlos, de sensibilizar al público sobre estas fragilidades y sobre su importancia para el planeta. 

Cuales son las temáticas polares y/o imágenes en las que centras tu trabajo?

Básicamente quisiera transmitir el espíritu, el alma de estos lugares. Y para ello hablo de diferentes elementos, en el proyecto DETENERSE A RESPIRAR AL FINAL DEL MUNDO habló sobre la importancia del agua dulce, del frío, del corazón de la Antártida y lo transmito por medio de acciones poéticas presentadas como video-instalaciones. En el proyecto DETALLE: UN RETRATO AL FINAL DEL MUNDO hablo de la Antártida desde otra perspectiva, desde la relación humana frente a ella, cuento a manera de bitácora expuesta en instalación de fotografías, objetos y vídeos, los detalles que no se ven en documentales, las particularidades que sólo vemos quienes hemos estado allá y dentro de estas particularidades, también los daños ambientales que estamos generando, pero ante todo hago una reflexión, por medio de vídeos que son una poematización de entrevistas, sobre el amor al sexto continente desde la relación y sensibilidad de quienes la hemos habitado.

Natalia Lopez Polar Art Blog2Has realizado exhibiciones de tu trabajo en persona o en línea recientemente, o estas preparándote para alguna exhibición? Donde y cuando?

He realizado varias exposiciones sobre mi trabajo en La Antártida. La primera fue en KB ESPACIO PARA EL ARTE en Bogotá donde realicé una exposición individual llamada DETENERSE A RESPIRAR AL FINAL DEL MUNDO que consistía en una vídeo instalación (seis vídeos y objetos) sobre mi primer residencia artística en bases argentinas. Luego en SIN TÍTULO GALERÍA presenté una exposición individual de fotografía llamada INTERVENCIÓN, ESCULTURA Y PINTURA SOBRE CONTINENTE BLANCO enfocada en relacionar estos aspectos de la creación artística con los paisajes antárticos. Luego en PERMANENTE ESPACIO DE ARTE presenté un vídeo que muestra pictóricamente las corrientes que afectan a La Antártida y como se relacionan con el resto del mundo, se presentó allí en una exposición colectiva y este año en otra colectiva llamada el MAPA NO ES EL TERRITORIO en el espacio de arte ESTUDIO 74, el link del vídeo es este https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQlGXXwcA70.

También a partir de esta primera residencia artística, desarrollé el proyecto DE POLO A POLO con el artista Miler Lagos, que consistía en una gran video-instalación donde 22 videos del Ártico (realizados por él) y la Antártida creaban un diálogo a través de un recorrido inmersivo, está exposición se presentó en Bogotá, en los talleres de arte LAS NIEVES y en la galería PROCESO de Cuenca, Ecuador.

Después de mi segunda residencia artística, en una base antártica ecuatoriana, realicé la exposición individual DETALLE: UN RETRATO AL FINAL DEL MUNDO en PERMANENTE ESPACIO DE ARTE el año pasado durante las ferias de arte de Bogotá, lo que implicó un flujo altísimo de público nacional e internacional y dos de los vídeos de esta exposición serán presentados pronto en Guayaquil, Ecuador.

La mayoría de mis obras se pueden encontrar en mi página web o en mi cuenta de Vimeo https://vimeo.com/user8445474.

Tienes algún consejo para investigadores y científicos polares que tengan interés en incorporar arte para compartir y publicar los resultados de sus trabajos de investigación?

Sí, que no basta con retratar los paisajes, su fauna o su flora, hay que ser más profundos y poéticos, no es fácil lograr conmover hasta las lágrimas, pero se logra, yo lo he hecho y eso para mí ha sido la prueba que que todo el esfuerzo ha valido la pena. Hay que ser inteligentes y asertivos, no nos podemos quedar en un discurso simplemente de denuncia o en imágenes preciosistas, hay que llegar al alma, hay que hacer pensar y sentir al público y para eso hay que amar hasta los huesos el lugar sobre el que se trabaja.

Cuales son las reacciones del publico mas frecuentes cuando ven tu trabajo artístico?

Normalmente la gente se me acerca diciendo que se sensibilizaron mucho con lo que estoy transmitiendo, con la manera de hacerlo, me preguntan luego muchas cosas, por ejemplo con las obras sobre medio ambiente, me preguntan por mi vivencia, por las especificidades del lugar o por particularidades ambientales, generalmente quedan muy conmovidos y ha sucedido en varias ocasiones que se "masajean" el pecho diciendo que sintieron algo muy profundo (me parece extraño pero ya he visto ese gesto en varias personas hablando de mis obras sobre el medio ambiente). También, con obras sobre el medio ambiente y otras que hablan sobre el amor, se me han acercado con lágrimas en los ojos agradeciéndome por haberles logrado transmitir sentimientos tan fuertes. Creo que estas reacciones, en momentos muy duros en que siento que no doy más - por lo difícil que es hacer arte - son las que me hacen seguir adelante, luchando a pesar de la cantidad de dificultades y me hace seguir creyendo en que el arte vale la pena.

Sé que algo estoy aportando al mundo si por medio de una obra puedo transmitir un mensaje y sensibilizar aunque sea a una persona.

En tu opinión, cuales son los desafíos mas grandes que enfrentan las regiones polares en la actualidad?

Los desafíos más grandes son los intereses políticos y económicos (claramente estos van de la mano) de los gobiernos del mundo. Es una verdad que todo el planeta se encuentra en un momento crítico donde el daño que se ha causado y las consecuencias de la forma en que vive el ser humano son catastróficas, pero aunque cada vez se cree más conciencia y haya más movimientos en búsqueda de la protección del medio ambiente, si los intereses políticos y económicos de los países, no cambia, en función de la equidad, de la empatía, la compasión y el amor por el otro (humano, animal, planta, roca, etc.), no habrá cambios reales que puedan revertir todo este daño. Las zonas polares son en las que los daños pueden llegar a percibirse más claramente, porque son lugares prístinos que lo evidencian en mayor medida, además de que el agua dulce contenida en ellos es como el oasis que vemos que está disminuyendo y por eso las consecuencias, principalmente en la fauna, son muy claras; por eso las políticas de protección a las zonas polares deberían ser más fuertes, por ejemplo el turismo en la Antártida, el ser humano es tan egoísta que sólo piensa en su disfrute y no en el daño que causa al ir, esto a pequeña escala, a gran escala, las pesqueras que saquean los mares árticos y antárticos responden también a intereses económicos egoístas y deberían estar prohibídas. En fin, creo que si las políticas gubernamentales no fueran egoístas, en búsqueda de poder y riqueza, educarían sociedades solidarias y amorosas que no necesitarían del consumismo para intentar ser felices y sin consumismo, el planeta se salvaría.

Tienes un colega artista (polar o no) favorito?

Mi artista polar favorito es Guido van der Werve, es un artista y cineasta holandés, sus vídeos es el polo norte son majestuosos.

También la artista holandesa Esther Kokmeijer me parece muy interesante, sobre todo por su relación afectiva en sus proyectos.

@ all photos taken by Natalia Lopez

Polar Art: Helene Girard

For September Polar Week 2019, we are showcasing a selection of artists working across a variety of media and focusing on polar regions in their work. Stay tuned for more artist blogs over the week!

Helene GirardName: Helene Girard
Webpage: http://www.arthelenegirard.com/
Facebook: Art Helene Girard
Instagram: @arthelenegirard

Helene is an acrylics-based artist who focuses on the landscapes of the Northwest Territories and Nunavik. In this blog post, she talks polar inspiration, luminosity and climate change.

What medium do you work in? How did you choose that medium?

Working in acrylics. I have tried other mediums in the past and acrylic has stayed with me for many years now. This is the best medium for working from great surface to tiny details.

deepwaterHow and why did you decide to focus on the polar regions in your work?

I have lived up north for over 25 years. First in the Northwest Territories (NWT), and in Nunavik for a short while and now living in Fort Smith NWT. The north seems to be calling me and it is an endless inspiration for my art.

What polar themes or imagery do you typically focus on?

I focus on landscape mostly but also experience with the world of aviation in relation to the northern regions. Some wildlife and the life of the people around me.

Do you have any advice for polar scientists and researchers who might like to engage more with using art to share their results and research?

Art touches the heart and the soul of people. The combination of these 2 worlds can only be successful. Winning the attention with 2 different mediums combined.

Les bleu de larctiqueWhat reactions do you often receive to your art?

Luminosity. People ask how can this be so clear and luminous. Come live in the north and you will see.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the polar regions today?

Of course we all know about the changes in the climate and just from living all those years in the north, I have already experienced some of the effects of the warming of our planet. On the wildlife, the people and the land. My challenge as and artist is to show the beauty of our regions by winning their hearts and souls. A drop in the bucket to bring sensitivity. To make people realize what is at stake.

© all photos created by Helene Girard

Polar Art: Adele Jackson

For September Polar Week 2019, we are showcasing a selection of artists working across a variety of media and focusing on polar regions in their work, starting with Adele Jackson. Stay tuned for more artist blogs over the week!

Adele Jackson KopieName: Adele Jackson
Webpage: www.adelejackson.org
Twitter: @antarcticartist
Instagram: @adelejackson

Adele is an environmental artist based in New Zealand. She uses a variety of media, including solography, sculpture and poetry to capture the dynamic environmental and cultural landscape of Antarctica.

What medium do you work in? How did you choose that medium?

For me, the choice of medium develops out of the idea behind the artwork. Here are a few examples:

The artwork Message Cylinders is comprised of aluminium containers protecting poems, which are encased in sealed cylindrical glass vessels. The aluminium case is an echo of both early polar exploration message cylinders and the containers used to store ice cores. The sealed glass vessel is a metaphor for both the ice cores and the air bubbles extracted by scientists to analyse past climate conditions. The encased poems speak of global atmospheric circulation over millennia.

In Antarctic Sun Lines, I use pinhole cameras to create long exposure solargraph images. The sun, the tilt and rotation of the Earth, and the polar location are active in creating the artwork. The work explores the dynamics and role that the sun and the Antarctic-driven climate and ocean systems have in supporting live on Earth.

Recently I have been developing ideas for sculptures using cast iron to explore marine ecosystem primary production; and sculptural textiles to explore structures in moss growth.

Ushuaia ARGENTINA KopieHow and why did you decide to focus on the polar regions in your work?

I am interested in the environment and human relationships with the natural world. I find Antarctica’s environmental, geopolitical, and cultural connections with the wider world an extremely interesting space and place for critical enquiry.

What polar themes or imagery do you typically focus on?

Exploring interconnections, interdependence, and an Earth systems way of thinking is what motivates me. I am not limited to a particular theme or type of imagery in my work. My interests are broad.

Have you exhibited your artwork in-person or online somewhere recently or have an upcoming exhibition?

The first of a series of Antarctic Sun Lines solar-powered artworks will be displayed at Christchurch Art Gallery / Te Puna o Waiwhetū, Aotearoa / New Zealand from 1st - 6th October 2019 as part of the city’s Antarctic season opening programme. There are plans in development to present a larger exhibition of the Antarctic Sun Lines work at the SCAR / COMNAP 2020 conference in Hobart, Tasmania in July- August 2020.

Do you have any advice for polar scientists and researchers who might like to engage more with using art to share their results and research?
I would encourage scientists, researchers and artists to have conversations, talk about ideas, and explore possibilities to develop collaborative projects. I think we need to create opportunities for meaningful meetings between artists and researchers to develop closer research relationships and collaborations.

Base E Stonnington AntarcticaWhat reactions do you often receive to your art?

People have different emotional responses to different artworks. Some artworks such as the The Ice Crystal Library seem to trigger surprise and delight; other work such as Antarctic Sun Lines often triggers curiosity and questions.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the polar regions today?

I think people, and the values that underpin political and economic systems are the biggest challenges that the Polar Regions, and the natural world as a whole, face today. In my opinion, exploitation and destruction of the natural world is a direct consequence of the values driving political and economic decisions. Changing values, changing behaviour, and changing political and economic systems are not easily or quickly achieved, these are huge challenges.

Do you have a favourite fellow polar (or nature) artist?

It is impossible to name one favourite. The work of Chris Drury, Anne Noble, and Lucy + Jorge Orta is very insightful and thought provoking. For me their work stands out as some of the most critically engaging and significant Antarctic artwork of the last 20 years.

@ all photos taken by Adele Jackson

 

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