LV Sketchbook Page 022 (McMurdo Skua)

January 31, 2018

Skuas are a well-known bird at Antarctic research bases. They’re scavengers with a sharp eye for detritus and a knack for swooping in to claim it. Fittingly, Skua Central is the name of McMurdo Station’s free thrift shop, available to the base’s denizens to claim discarded clothing, gear, books, electronics, and all manner of other goods.

Housed in a 300-square-foot shack on the edge of McMurdo, Skua Central is an integral part of the waste management program which handles over a dozen different categories of waste. It facilitates the flow of materials by taking them in as it gives them away, breathing multiple lives into items that might otherwise be thrown away.

My artwork, created with cut paper and acrylic on scavenged newsprint, aims to convey the plethora of stuff that passes through Skua Central, particularly between the summer and winter seasons as people arrive and depart the base. These include commonplace small appliances, glassware, home decor, food stuff, cosmetics, as well as the odd papier-mâché bust and Eiffel Tower replica.