The story of Shackleton in Antarctica tends to focus on the scale and bravery of the Endurance expedition, without noting the Kildare explorer’s printmaking and literary accomplishments.
My ‘Printmaking at the Sign of the Penguins’ project set out to explore the creative story of Shackleton in Antarctica and animate it for everyone who has an interest in the extraordinary ambition of Shackleton and his crew.
The recent discovery of his ship Endurance, lost in Antarctic waters for 107 years and his centenary year in 2022 have ignited interest in one of the greatest leaders of the golden age of exploration, and so it’s a great time to draw attention to Shackleton’s achievements as a writer, poet, and Antarctica’s first publisher.
The Printmaking at the Sign of the Penguins project – funded by Bank of Ireland Business to Arts Begin Together, in partnership with Shackleton Museum, Co Kildare – was designed to create awareness of Shackleton’s artistic achievements. It also explored how art can be created in challenging situations, shedding light on the printmaking and bookmaking practices undertaken by Shackleton in Antarctica, along with his crew.
The project’s name is a nod to the inscription on the first page of Shackleton’s book, and at the end of the project, I made a short film (see below) which was presented at the Virtually Shackleton event in 2021.