Gallery 'right place' for Scott works

Scott 100 co-convener Helen Stead (left), with artist Juilee Pryor, Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton and Forrester Art Gallery director Warwick Smith. Photo by Andrew Ashton.
Scott 100 co-convener Helen Stead (left), with artist Juilee Pryor, Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton and Forrester Art Gallery director Warwick Smith. Photo by Andrew Ashton.
An Australian artist this week gave 80 works of art to the Forrester Art Gallery in Oamaru, bringing to a close a 15-year ''obsession'' with the Antarctic and the story of Captain Robert Falcon Scott.

Sydney-based artist Juilee Pryor, who donated the hybrid-media panels to the gallery on Monday, said she had turned down offers from other galley's to take her 90 Degrees South Again exhibition on tour.

Ms Pryor said Oamaru was ''the right place'' for her work, which was based on Herbert Ponting's 1911 photographs of Scott and his Antarctic party.

She had been captivated by the Antarctic after flying over the area 15 years ago, and added she had also made an emotional pilgrimage to the Antarctic in order to complete her work.

''When I got down there in the Antarctic, I lay down in the snow and cried.''

Finishing the exhibition paintings was like ''repaying some-kind of debt'', she said.

''It was a very slow and obsessive process. I walked for a long time in Scott's mind.''

Gallery director Warwick Smith said Mr Ponting's photographs were ''one of the most remarkable'' and important events he had seen at the gallery, and added that Ms Pryor's generosity would ensure there would always be a memento of those photographs in Oamaru.

A total of 28 prints taken from original glass plate negatives developed by Mr Ponting in the Antarctic, went on display on Waitangi Day.

The photographs, on loan from the Scott Polar Research Institute in the United Kingdom, will remain until April 7.