Painting Antarctica II


“I am standing on the blue sea ice with a green pillowcase on my head, holding hands with a French glaciologist, searching for a throw bag. We are practising how to find somebody in a blizzard, somebody who may be only metres away but invisible in a whiteout. Our lost soul is the throw bag. Eventually we find it and remove our pillowcases.

We are greeted by a spectacular sight. Jagged and broken white forms crevasse off the plateau and fall on to the edge of the sea ice, which buckles and cracks. But my eye is lifted to the dark jagged peaks that seem to float in the air high above Mawson station, here at the edge of the Antarctic plateau. Ice smoke billows off the mountain peaks for miles in a long horizontal line. It is like existing in a René Magritte painting, so surreal is the vision.

Our survival instructor informs us of the deadly dangers emanating from the blue and green crystals sparkling under our spiked feet…”

John Kelly is an Australian artist, painter, sculptor and printmaker. He is currently artist-in-residence with the Australian Antarctic Division.

More here from John Kelly’s blog at the Guardian…