Visual artist Stephen Eastaugh has been announced as the Australian Antarctic Arts Fellow for 2009. He will spend a year in Antarctica, the first Arts fellow to do so.

Mr Eastaugh is a highly respected and prolific artist whose work is innovative and original, and he has been described as a fine example of the key role of Antarctic Fellows in communicating a message to the Australian community about Australia’s Antarctic program and its contribution on the world stage.

Mr Eastaugh has previously spent a summer at Davis station in 2002 and took a round trip in 1999, on two earlier Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowships. From those excursions he has produced in excess of 1200 works. He is a prolific artist, having held more than 60 solo exhibitions and 90 group exhibitions all around the world.

Mr Eastaugh will spend the forthcoming year at Mawson station, where he will produce a major body of paintings, keep a web diary, give radio interviews and research and draft an Antarctic artist’s book.

“I aim to throw some light on the winter period of Antarctic life via my paintings and in doing so extend Australia’s Antarctic visual culture,” Mr Eastaugh said.

“To make art about Antarctica requires time on the ice. Both summertime and especially winter as it is winter that makes Antarctica Antarctic,” he said.

Mr Eastaugh studied Fine Arts at Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts and at the University of Oslo. He also completed a Diploma of Education at the University of Tasmania.

He has exhibited in the Australian National Gallery, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Museum of Modern Art, Heide, and other regional and commercial galleries in Australia and overseas, many of which hold collections of his work.

The Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship aims to communicate the significance of Australia’s activities in Antarctica through the work of people especially gifted in communicating through various media including the visual arts, film-making, imaginative writing, education and music.