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‘Artists for Albatrosses’ – an expedition to South Georgia

  • Nov 8th 2019
  • Time: 19:30
  • Type: Talk
  • Organiser: Independent

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Don’t miss a unique opportunity to catch this illustrated talk given by renowned Wildlife Artist Chris Rose.

7.30 p.m. Friday November 8th, Combe St Nicholas Village Hall, Underway, Combe St. Nicholas, Chard TA20 3NY. Parking is along the road.

Ticket price £4 to included tea, coffee and cake. All proceeds to go to Save the Albatross campaign.

Tickets available from Combe St. Nicholas Village shop. Tickets for non-locals may be obtained by sending a stamped addressed envelope and cheque for £4 (payable to the RSPB) to “Artists for Albatrosses”, Feorlin, Combe Wood Lane, Combe St. Nicholas, Chard TA20 3NH. Please include a phone number for contact purposes. Ticket numbers are limited so please order early.

In early 2010 Chris spent 5 ½ weeks on board a 20m yacht, sailing a total of over 4,000km (in some of the roughest seas on the planet!) to draw and paint the wildlife and landscapes of the Antarctic archipelago of South Georgia. The resulting work formed an exhibition in London with the aims of raising funds for the Royal Society for the Protection of Bird’s (RSPB) Save the Albatross campaign and of raising awareness of the plight of albatrosses and other seabirds in the Southern Ocean.

This illustrated talk is an account of the expedition and will feature photographs (and a few videos) of this remarkable place and its wildlife, plus some of the artwork.

Duration; an hour and a half with a break for refreshments.

Artists sail through hurricane to help save albatrosses from extinction.

Two internationally acclaimed wildlife artists, John Gale and Chris Rose, survived a hurricane to bring to public attention the plight of albatrosses threatened with global extinction. Sailing 900 miles in a 20m yacht to the remote island of South Georgia they battled through 10m waves and winds in excess of 80 knots to sketch and paint albatrosses and other wildlife for a major exhibition to raise funds and awareness for the Save the Albatross Campaign.

26 species of seabird, including 18 out of the 22 species of albatross, are in danger of extinction because of deaths caused by long-line fishing. About 100,000 albatrosses are drowned on fishing hooks every year - a rate of one every five minutes. Only able to raise one chick every two years the albatross family is becoming threatened with extinction faster than any other family of birds. Albatrosses have survived in the harshest marine environments for 50 million years; more than 100 times longer than our own species, but these magnificent birds are unable to cope with this new, man-made threat to their existence. Moved by their plight Chris and John journeyed to South Georgia to paint these birds and the ruggedly spectacular world they inhabit.

Sketching and painting on South Georgia presented real challenges and often involved enduring rain, high winds, blizzards, rough seas, and the ever-present and aggressive fur seals. Being eyeball-to-eyeball with an aggressive fur seal (and they have very sharp teeth) was not an experience they would easily forget. But it was worth all of the dangers and every uncomfortable minute for the privilege of sitting a few feet away from displaying wandering albatrosses, with their 3.3 metre wingspans. These emblems of the wild, open ocean sit patiently for weeks on end, through snow and screaming winds, incubating a single egg or a downy chick.

South Georgia is a land of superlatives and its raw energy and stark beauty always offered something to draw or paint. Spectacular wildlife crowded the beaches, from enormous elephant seals, weighing up to 4 tons, sparring with each other on the beaches to colonies of king penguins a quarter of a million strong; moving tapestries of white, grey, yellow and black. There are, however, few visions more moving and stimulating than that of a wandering albatross as it glides in great, sweeping arcs over the wind-whipped waves, gleaming white against the leaden clouds of a passing storm. These are some of the images and experiences Chris will be sharing with us in his talk.

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