Avonwick-based artist Anthony Garratt is standing in an old warehouse on the Sharpham Estate putting the finishing touches to his impressive and thought-provoking installation.

His work will bring large paintings of icebergs to three tidal rivers in South Devon- The Dart, The Teign and The Exe.

Anthony explained: “There’ll be three moored paintings along three points along the Dart and on those moorings along the Dart and on those moorings are going to be three large double-sided paintings of icebergs.

“On one side the icebergs are being sent to me by current Arctic explorers Ella Hibbert whose setting off on the first complete circumnavigation of the Arctic non-stop on a sailing boat and Jim McNeill who runs Global Warrior who over the next 10 years is going to be sending members of the public out to the Arctic on his sailing boat to come back with citizen science.

There is a serious side to this to get people thinking as Anthony explained:

“In some respects it’s a tribute to icebergs and the fact that in decades to come they might not exist at all which is quite a profound thought really and on the other hand it’s a tribute to these modern explorers.

‘For generations people have painted through exploration so it’s a tribute to them as well.”

Anthony then described his work:

“They’re meant to be out of context.

“These are big, powerful icebergs deliberately painted with dark skies, almost overwhelming, they’re not pretty or delicate.

Anthony adds finishing touches
Anthony adds finishing touches (Richard Harding)

“Putting them somewhere like the Dart which is temperate, quite gentle with is deciduous foliage coming down, you’ve got the bright greens and then an iceberg.

“Hopefully there’s a bit of an interruption and a paradox there.

“It’s another way of seeing a landscape painting and they are usually tucked away in galleries and a small demographic see them but here people will see them and be stopped.”

Anthony said he really wants to get people thinking about the environment and what we are doing to it: “It’s very likely that these icebergs I’ve painted here won’t exist next year.

“It’s almost like they’re memorials to these things.

“We’re very used to seeing spectacular images of landscapes from around the world but do we engage with them or just flick through?

“Maybe painting is a way of perhaps building empathy and perhaps building a bond?”

So what of the wider consequences of the melting icebergs?

“It’s a case of having empathy for the fact that this is going to change not just sea levels but things like nutrients in the Arctic waters.

“It opens up new nutrient-rich water which is already being bagged internationally as territory so things like drilling, over-fishing, all the problems that we have already then spill into the Arctic.

If the statistics are right, a lot of Devon could be under water in under 100 years.

“An artist’s role is about asking questions.”

It will begin on the Dart- early June to early August followed by the Exe and the Teign.