The vast frozen arena of the Antarctic has been a source of fascination and challenge for intrepid visitors since it was first discovered in the 19th century. It has remained enigmatic, dangerous, entirely free of economic clamour and very, very cold. ‘Below the 40th latitude there is no law; below the 50th no god; below the 60th no common sense and below the 70th no intelligence whatsoever.’ So proclaimed author Kim Stanley Robinson while explorer Captain Scott, leader of the ill-fated 1912 discovery expedition, wrote with delightful and now poignant British understatement that ‘”I have come to the conclusion that life in the Antarctic Regions can be very pleasant.”
Over the last century a surprisingly prolific artistic legacy has emerged from these pioneer’s ice-clad forays. In 1908, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his team brought along a small printing press and created the world’s first book published in the region. Covered in sealskin and including a moving poem by Shackleton himself, ‘Aurora Australis’ remains testament to the spirit of a heroic breed of creatives. Californian artist Lily Simonson is the latest visionary to record her unique impression of this most mercurial of continents.