Antarctic artist from Islington launches show

AN Islington artist who spent 10 days painting one of the harshest climates on the planet is unveiling his work this week.

Nasser Azam, 47, who lives in his studio in Cross Street, Islington, braved the ice and snow of Antarctica last year to create 13 abstract images on the tundra.

The paintings will be displayed in an exhibition set to run simultaneously on the London Underground and 6,000 miles away on the Tokyo Subway on Saturday.

Mr Azam, who has previous work includes images created in zero gravity conditions in Moscow’s Space City, said: “This was about the furthest away from my comfort zone that I could get. My normal painting practice is to paint at night, but in Antarctica it was approaching the end of summer and there was round the clock sunshine.

“That was the biggest difficulty, you had to wear sunglasses all the time so you didn’t get sun blight. The other challenge was the severity of the weather. One minute it would be minus -20C, then 10 minutes later a blizzard would come and it would drop to -50C.

“Some mornings we would get up and the paintings had literally flown away, that shows how difficult the conditions were.

“We only just managed to get the last plane home, if we had missed it we would have had to wait six months for the next one, so we were very lucky.

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“I think that’s it for performance painting in extreme conditions, except maybe a trip to the moon in about 20 years.”

When asked if he felt Islington was a good environment for an artist to live, he said: “Absolutely. I think my studio in Islington is the most creative place in London.

“This area is very conducive to getting the creative juices flowing.”