Antarctic Art and Holiday Festivities

On Christmas Eve our team pulled off WAIS Divide’s first art exhibit! Fifteen ice inspired art pieces from artists based in New Zealand, Canada, and the USA were displayed out against the sprawling white and blue backdrop of the WAIS skyline. The pieces were a variety of mediums- prints, photos, videos, collages, paintings, as well as a quilt and a canvas cyanotype, which we draped over a set of bamboo poles so that people could walk beneath it to see the light shine through.

 Canvas cyanotype

Canvas cyanotype

The quilt was sewn by community members in Alaska. A painting of WAIS Divide’s Tent City (a fan favorite amongst the WAIS camp staff) was from an undergrad artist. Several pieces were from invited artist Anna Mckee, who shared prints depicting ice crystals, frost, and sea ice. In submitting their artwork, each artist offered their unique perspective on ice cores, ice sheets, and ice crystals, giving those of us out here on the ice a different kind of appreciation for the landscape and microstructure we have spent our days examining. 

 Erin and company setting out the artwork

Erin and company setting out the artwork

 "Morning Clouds Over Tent City" watercolor 

"Morning Clouds Over Tent City" watercolor 

 Camp staff looks at some of Anna McKee's prints

Camp staff looks at some of Anna McKee's prints

Next to our logging tent is a warming hut, normally cluttered with our logging tools and equipment. For the art exhibit it was transformed into a reception hut. Wine, chocolate, and cheese replaced sonic loggers and acoustic televiewers. Garlands and ornaments were draped across the drying racks and tent frames. When the camp staff began to make their way out to our tent we all gathered in the warming hut before starting out together (all in our big reds) to walk through the exhibit. 

 Everyone dressed up in their finest Big Red for the gallery opening

Everyone dressed up in their finest Big Red for the gallery opening

 The exhibit extending out into the white abyss

The exhibit extending out into the white abyss

We could not have asked for better weather; the lingering clouds from earlier in the day cleared up just in time for everyone’s arrival. The sun lit up pieces from the front and the blue sky framed them from behind. Pictures will be up as soon as we return to wifi! Until then, we are thankful for our friends and family who have generously taken the time to type up these blog posts that we have been dictating over the phone.

 "Cold as Ice Blues" a paper collage

"Cold as Ice Blues" a paper collage

 A rare sighting of the Antarctic Gorilla, known to be attracted by paintings and prints

A rare sighting of the Antarctic Gorilla, known to be attracted by paintings and prints

The art exhibit was one of several holiday events this weekend, and was a fun way for camp staff to spend their afternoon off. Earlier that same morning we took part in intercontinental caroling. McMurdo and the other Antarctic field camps tuned in to the HF radio to take turns singing carols and sending holiday greetings to one another. 

The night prior, we had the WAIS Divide christmas dinner. The entire camp gathered in the galley, where the cooks had prepared a delightful meal and desserts that were out of this world. With full bellies and high spirits we followed up dinner with a White Elephant gift exchange. Overall, it was a wonderful and unique holiday celebration! 

In other news, we have finished up with the acoustic televiewer and for the next week we will be working on the sonic logger and radar, before we head back to McMurdo.