Paintings evoke heroic era

Credit: Sean Garwood

New Zealand artist Sean Garwood is exhibiting his new series of paintings at Antarctic Season Opening in October.

His series of 16 paintings captures the historic Antarctic huts of Sir Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott evoking a strong sense of the heroic era of polar exploration.

“My long-held ambition to visit the historic Antarctica huts of Sir Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott came to fruition in November 2015. This was made possible after a successful proposal to Antarctica New Zealand’s Community Engagement Program. The main focus of exhibition is to showcase the huts themselves and the artefacts they house,”


Upon entering each hut, I felt a sense of deep reverence. I stood there, very still and soaking it in.

"Alone in the cradle of a significant part of modern world exploration history. The light was muted with a slight declination of the sun and so very silent. I could hear the eerie wind funnelling around the huts, with slight creaking of timbers and doors. The men seemed very close indeed. A deep chill ran all the way down my spine. I find it very difficult to describe in words the feeling but it’s like no other and certainly a feeling I will never forget.”

Sean’s time at the huts involved sketching and photographing. This was hampered by the layers of clothing that is necessary to alleviate the sub-zero temperatures. The photographs were taken for reference as each painting is meticulously drawn out first and then transferred to the canvas where each oil painting can take four to six weeks to complete.

Sean says he is delighted that New Zealand Post have decided to use six of his paintings for the ‘Historic Huts of the Ross Dependency’ 2017 stamp issue, which will be available from early October 2017. Read more about the stamp issue here.

Sean Garwood's Antarctica Exhibition

Sean Garwood setting up in Shackleton's hut

Cropped section of the painting showing detail. Courvoisier Cognac bottle and condiments in Discovery Hut.

Night Watch, oil on panel. Paraffin lamp and ginger jar sitting on the table in Scott's Hut.

Shackleton's Hut - oil on canvas

Sean sketching on the Ice during field training.

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