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Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole. One of the world’s northernmost inhabited areas, it's known for its rugged, remote terrain of glaciers and frozen tundra.

The islands were first used as a base by whalers in the 17th and 18th centuries, and when over-hunting reduced whale numbers the islands were largely abandoned.  Then at the beginning of the 20th century coal mining began and several permanent communities were established.

 

The Svalbard Treaty of 1920 recognizes Norwegian sovereignty, and the 1925 Svalbard Act made the islands a full part of the Kingdom of Norway.

Art in the Arctic - Svalbard
June 28 - July 7th 2018

The highlights were many, and working with the other artists was a great experience.  But the polar bear encounters were many and varied - and absolutely wonderful.

From a large male on the shoreline framed by the dark slopes of scree beyond, to a female with two cubs resting and sleeping for most of the hours we watched.

From a young male swimming far out at sea a considerable distance from the the ice front, to another young male constantly checking the breeze while he watched a distant female working her way upwind around an ice-jammed bay.