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  • In the Footsteps of Matthew HensonPhotographs of Terry Adkins on His Final Trip to the Arctic Circle, July 2013
  • Chris Blade (bio)

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In 2013, I was one of twenty-seven international artists selected to participate in a three week creative residency program, organized by the New York arts charity Arctic Circle, to visit and travel round Svalbard, a mountainous Arctic archipelago of over 61,000 sq Km, 60 percent glacier and just 10 degrees from the North Pole. The program is unique in that participants live and travel on a modified tall ship, the Antigua, and are assisted by the crew in completing artistic projects and research.

Painters, sculptors, poets, writers, performance artists, glass artists, photographers, and musicians lived side by side in the close confines of the boat and through shared experiences and interests developed powerful and lasting bonds.

It was here I met Terry Adkins. My first impression was deep and immediate—first his voice, rich and musical, followed by good humor and sparkling intellect, interested in others and willing to assist and inspire any creativity wherever he saw it. In my case it was most obvious with my rather rusty playing of an old classical guitar in which he delighted and praised. My appreciation of his capability for deep, original, and creative thought developed throughout the time we shared. We often sat late into the night with a glass of wine or beer discussing music, sculpture, teaching, and of course his fascination with Matthew Alexander Henson (August 8, 1866–March 9, 1955) the first African American Arctic explorer. Terry was inspired and fascinated by Henson's life and experiences. Emulating Henson, Terry abandoned typical modern arctic clothing to wear an antique wolf-skin coat, traditional instruments round his neck, and wherever we landed Terry created musical performances inspired by the hostile environment. It was before one of these performances, observed by nobody, that Terry requested I photograph him for inclusion in a forthcoming New York based solo exhibition. Tragically, Terry died before the exhibition, but loved the images. He is greatly missed. [End Page 16]


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Terry Adkins in the Arctic Circle

Photograph by Chris Blade © 2013

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Terry Adkins in the Arctic Circle

Photograph by Chris Blade © 2013

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Terry Adkins in Pyramiden, an old Russian coal-mining town on the archipelago of Svalbard, Norway

Photograph by Chris Blade © 2013

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Terry Adkins in the Arctic Circle

Photograph by Chris Blade © 2013

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Terry Adkins in the Arctic Circle

Photograph by Chris Blade © 2013

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Terry Adkins in the Arctic Circle

Photograph by Chris Blade © 2013

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Terry Adkins in the Arctic Circle, with the ship Antigua in the background

Photograph by Chris Blade © 2013

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Terry Adkins in the Arctic Circle

Photograph by Chris Blade © 2013

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Terry Adkins in the Arctic Circle

Photograph by Chris Blade © 2013

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Terry Adkins and Chris Blade

Photograph by Chris Blade © 2013

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Chris Blade

CHRIS BLADE is a graduate of the Royal College of Art, London, where he received a BA and a master's degree in glass work. He is currently MD of Cumbria Crystal, the last remaining luxury crystal manufacturer in the UK. He has also served as Head of Commissioning, Enterprise, and the Studio, at the National Glass Centre, University of Sunderland.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6512
Print ISSN
0161-2492
Pages
pp. 15-26
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-26
Open Access
No
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