Applications are now open for the 2014 Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship.

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JOhn Kelly wearing protective Antarctica gear, paints with an easel set up on the ice,
John Kelly, 2013 Arts Fellow, captures Antarctica on canvas (Photo: Justin Chambers)
Jesse and the guide dog money box.The cover of a book showing a woman underwater

Applications are now open for the 2014 Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship.

Each year the Australian Government offers accomplished arts, social science and humanities professionals the opportunity to travel to Antarctica under the Fellowship program, managed by the Australian Antarctic Division.

The Division’s Strategies General Manager, Jason Mundy, said that the aim of the program was to promote, to a broad audience, the uniqueness of Antarctica and Australia’s important research, conservation and management endeavours there.

“Through the Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship program we have enabled some outstanding Australian artists, writers and performers to travel south, and are keen to encourage others to follow in their footsteps,” Mr Mundy said.

This year’s Fellow is John Kelly, renowned for his paintings and large sculptures of William Dobell’s cows. Mr Kelly returned this week after spending two months in Antarctica, visiting Australia’s Casey, Davis and Mawson stations. During that time, he completed a number of works and wrote a blog of his impressions of life and work in these remotest of locations.

Mr Kelly said having the opportunity to write and create his art in Antarctica was inspiring.

“The sights I saw were just spectacular. Painting on the sea ice at Mawson – there are no words – just soaking up the feeling of space. It made me feel truly alive standing in that wonderland.

“I hope in sharing this experience, people will be better aware of Australia's involvement on this amazing and beautiful continent,” Mr Kelly said.

In 2011, author Jesse Blackadder used her Fellowship to research her historical novel, Chasing the Light, about Ingrid Christensen, the first woman to see Antarctica, and the children’s book Stay.

“The Arts Fellowship opened a whole new professional pathway for me. I went to research my historical novel, and returned with another identity as a writer of children’s fiction.

“My Antarctic experience was personally enriching, while professionally I came away with the unexpected bonus of some wonderful material for a children’s book. I am so grateful for the opportunity and urge any artist to apply,” Ms Blackadder said.

The Fellowship and its predecessor, the Antarctic Humanities program, have been running since 1985. Other previous Arts Fellows include writer Tom Griffiths, visual artist Stephen Eastaugh, sound artist Philip Samartzis, dancer Tina Evans and children’s authors Coral Tulloch and Alison Lester.

Applications can be submitted online.

The closing date is 30 March, 2014.