© Stephen Eastaugh, 2019. All Rights Reserved.
I was unfortunately on the wrong side of the Pacific ocean and 10,900 km away from Hobart making it impossible for me to be in Hobart in December for a small exhibition held at RAFT SOUTH. This little show was about the sea; in particular - Ghost ships, Life rafts and Non existent islands. (www.raftartspace.com.au/ghost-ships)
A ghost ship as you well know is a ship with no living crew aboard; it may be folklore or fiction, a derelict craft found adrift or a decommissioned ship soon to be scraped. The name alone creates a mysterious story that fascinates both sailors and landlubbers. I became rather familiar with one particular vessel that recently became a ghost ship – the M.V. LYUBOV ORLOVA. Named after a famous Russian film star with a colorful history. This vessel became a Polar cruise ship where I was fortunate enough to work on as an artist in residence. Over the austral summers of 2005 to 2007 on five separate voyages to the Antarctic Peninsula cabin 607 was my exciting mobile and often very wobbly studio.
in 2012 this Yugoslavian built, ninety meter long, ice-strengthened ship was sold and due to be salvaged in the Dominican Republic but was accidentally lost at sea and became a ghost ship. Set adrift in international waters the vessel was empty but some news reports claimed it was populated with rats. The ship was reported off the coasts of Canada, Iceland, Ireland and the UK and most likely sank in the North Atlantic Ocean after a great deal of captain-less wandering. Somewhere the ship sank and no doubt many of the objects on-board sit at the bottom of the Ocean floor. Now excellent new accommodation for sea creatures.I often refer to myself as a landscape artist but over the past years the sea has flooded into my work possibly due to the lustre of the pearl shells, my ancestry full of Dutch sailors or the six months I have worked on Polar icebreakers.
All works in the show touched upon the fact that very little is known about what happens in International waters and the lack of law across most of the wet part of our planet. The Mare Liberum intrigues me. I hope to paddle through this topic a great deal more.
Besides pearl shell work I also presented mysterious cartographic islands and lost emergency sea craft all with a desire to transport foggy ideas about that “large blue wobbly thing where the mermaids live.”
So it is another summer under the Andes with occasional hail storms and unpredictable Zonder winds blasting in. Mostly I scratch away in the studio squeezing out that art stuff. Experimenting, drilling, sewing, painting, polishing, stitching, drawing, rubbing out, unsewing, repainting all vigorously performed while taming thoughts and ordering serious considerations about all that surrounds me. Utilizing not many rules except the ones I have adopted. Art is a rather odd form of behaviour.
Here we live a country lifestyle with a lack of smog and noise but with other complications and other amusements. Our house and extended garden has been invaded by many creatures over the years including fleas, dogs, spiders, large toads, rabbits, foxes, a few birds, wasps, guinea pigs, snakes, rats, a skunk and one evening after hearing a thumping noise I opened the door to find a large horse lacking a gaucho on top and obviously lost. The horse politely said “Naaaay” which I translated as “hello” so I replied, “ Hello …. Shooooo.. !!! gallop away please.” Then I shut the door. These invasions are the price we pay for our rural living. Odd to the urban dweller and certainly more entertaining than battles with evil neighbors playing loud death metal music at 4 am or wondering if the air pollution level will hit 11 on the smelly/toxic scale.
Back to pine nut collecting, sun drying tomatoes and perhaps the odd BBQ or two to indulge in over this Austral summer. A grand new years to everyone…now it is time to be festive.