Polly Townsend’s billboard is inspired by her recent experience as Artist in Residence in the Antarctic in January 2023. The billboard work uses acrylic and watercolour paint, both long-standing mediums in the painting tradition. Acrylic, a plastic polymer mix, is used to form the ocean backdrop of the painting. The iceberg is painted in watercolour; mixed with the water collected off the Western Antarctic ice shelf.
Over a three-month period, the iceberg will be repeatedly repainted as the artwork degrades, changing colour and shape due to exposure to the elements (rain, sun, wind). The work raises questions of value, impermanence, and connection.
Open times: 2pm – 5pm Saturdays, 1st June till 30th December 2023
- As the world's largest and most distant wilderness melts, what is the link with our local community?
- What is the role of the City of London, whose skyscrapers look down on the billboard, and which continues to finance multi-billion-pound fossil fuel investments? These contribute to an accelerating destabilisation of the polar regions that regulate the Earth's climate.
The work connects two ecosystems: 10,000 miles apart, one 10 billion times larger than the
other, yet interdependent and equally miraculous.
Supported by The Friends of Scott Polar Research Institute and The Royal Navy on board HMS Protector.
*Feedback: information that can improve a situation; a loop or cycle whereby one variable changes.
©2023 Bethnal Green Nature Reserve Trust