Cold Recall: Reflections of a Polar Explorer

Tuesday 22 November 2011, 16:04

Polly March Polly March

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An exhibition to mark 100 years since Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen made his epic journey to the South Pole is to open at the Norwegian Church Arts Centre in Cardiff Bay this weekend.

Amundsen is most famous in the UK for beating Captain Scott's party to become the first to reach the South Pole in 1911.

Roald Amundsen in 1910

Roald Amundsen in 1910

The exhibition will feature many of the hand-coloured lantern slides that Amundsen used in public lectures about his expeditions through the Northwest Passage and to the South Pole.

The official opening of the show this Sunday will coincide with the church's annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, which this year will be especially poignant as the church have planted a tree of remembrance to the 77 victims who died in the 22 July bomb and gun attacks.

Eight people were killed in a bombing in the capital Oslo and 69 were shot dead at a youth camp on the island of Utoeya. One of the survivors of the youth camp siege will be present at the service.

The exhibit is on loan from Norway's Fram Museum and also aims to illustrate the gruelling physical challenges Amundsen faced in his work, his demanding daily routine and how he interpreted his expeditions for an international audience.

It includes abridged versions of Amundsen's own manuscripts from his original lectures and is divided into two parts: the Northwest Passage and the Gjøa expedition 1903-06; and the South Pole Expedition 1910-14.

Amundsen's expedition ship Fram and Robert Falcon Scott's Terra Nova in the Bay of Whales, 4 February 1911

Amundsen's expedition ship Fram and Robert Falcon Scott's Terra Nova in the Bay of Whales, 4 February 1911

Amundsen led an extraordinary life, having been inspired by the 19th century explorer Sir John Franklin to pursue an interest in polar expeditions.

He led the first expedition to sail through the Northwest Passage, completed the first journey around the Arctic Ocean and also crossed the Arctic Ocean by airship.

He spent years preparing for his expeditions, even spending time with the Canadian Inuit to further his understanding of indigenous people.

Amundsen or Sgt Peder Ristvedt at the North Magnetic Pole, May 1904

Amundsen or Sgt Peder Ristvedt at the North Magnetic Pole, May 1904

The exhibition has been made possible via a special partnership between Cardiff and the Norwegian Embassies in London and Dublin.

It will be officially opened on Sunday, November 27 by Councillor Nigel Howells, Cardiff Council's executive member for sport, leisure and culture and Tom-Christer Nilsen, the County Mayor of Hordaland. Hordaland is the Norwegian county twinned with Cardiff which each year gives a tree to the city.

The tree lighting ceremony will begin with Christmas music and entertainment from 4pm.

The arts centre in Harbour Drive reopened six months ago, following an extensive refurbishment.

Councillor Nigel Howells, who is also the Chair of the Norwegian Church Advisory Committee, said: "Every year we celebrate the annual tree lighting with guests from Norway, so it is fitting for the Tree of Remembrance to be accompanied by the exhibition opening; both highlighting the courage of the Norwegian people."

The exhibition runs until 18 December, with free entry.

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