tall ship

dreaming of the Arctic Circle by Leigh McCarthy


I am thrilled to announce I was selected to join The Arctic Circle Autumn Art & Science Expedition in October of 2016. This unique residency program takes place aboard a Norwegian tall ship that embarks from the Longyearbyen, SvalbardAs the Arctic ice pack rapidly dwindles, the chance to travel with a group of artists and scientists to document this fragile ecosystem feels more urgent than ever. 

In 1991, I traveled to Prince William Sound on a month-long sea kayaking expedition two years after the Exxon Valdez disaster. I heard stories about what I could no longer see: otters in their breeding grounds, blue mussels that previously lined the shores, and birds missing from the sky. High powered water pushed the oil a few inches below the surface but its damaging effects were ever present. Experiencing this loss first-hand influences the themes and subject matter of my work which depicts landlocked cargo ships shipwrecked like beached whales that have lost their way. My work seeks not to treat these incidents directly, but rather to evoke the yearning for the sublime that lay at the heart of these journeys, and others like it. 

Sailing through the Arctic archipelago, I will explore one of the last untouched ecosystems in the world. During this residency I will create an art project that tells the story of what soon disappear from this majestic landscape for those who will never have a chance to witness it first hand.