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There's Only One:

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

by Vicki Milewski

There’s Only One: Arctic Refuge Art Collection is a response to years of experiences in working to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska with wilderness designation.  We are still working to achieve that.

Selected artworks from this collection:

Warhol Flowers in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Winds and Flowers:  

The winds show different temperatures through coloration and the flowers are the Caribou and other wildlife wilderness designation would protect.

Sun on Flowers is found in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Sun on Flowers

The constant summer sun creates a nutrient bonanza for all the wildlife that go to the Refuge area.

Rivers in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

One River Joins with the Arctic Ocean

The River flows through a glacial moraine topography while the sun accentuates curling winds that mirror the curls in glaciers within in the Brooks Range.

Four Rivers in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Four Rivers

Four main rivers show their ages by how curved they are; all join with the Arctic Ocean

Jago River Flowing Into My Heart

TheJago River runs through the heart of the northern half of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This glacial river is fed by McCall Glacier on Mt. Isto.  The Jago River captures my imagination as the central circulatory system of the Refuge.

Jago River Flowing From My Heart

The Jago River is usually seen as white due to the action of its swift movement causing many bubbles, here I see it as blue as it creates the curves of the land it flows through

North of the Brooks Range Alaska

Wisconsin Oak Tree Looking North to the Refuge

This tree is on the South side of the Brooks Range and it holds one Warholian flower as it looks toward where its offspring will flourish in the future.  With a first quarter moon and Venus in its crook, this tree shows its heart in an attempt to get us all to show ours.

An Introduction to Vicki Milewski's art collection There's Only One


Using Georgia O’Keefe’s Faraway Nearby perspective for painting, Vicki Milewski takes us on a journey that is faraway but makes it nearby with her artwork and sense of celestial time.  Working on the idea of journeys in her past four art collections, Milewski focuses her Only One:  Coastal Plain collection on the seasonal caribou migration to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska that has taken place for the last 10,000 years.  Different herds of caribou from the U.S.A and Canada journey over snow covered mountains and still iced over rivers to the coastal plain which lies on the northern coastline of Alaska along the Arctic Ocean.


Milewski symbolically represents the caribou as Warholian pink flowers to combine the idea of “where have all the flowers gone” with the rampant consumerism which Warhol poked fun at while also benefitting from, it is our pop culture’s disposable commodities that are threatening this ancient migration of not only the caribou but hundreds of other species who use the coastal plain’s unique nutritional salad bar to breed, raise their young or fuel up for the rotational winters.  Line drawings represent these animals and plants dreaming through the winter while bursts of color and sun signal the short summer months that provide a midnight sun for growing and foraging. 


The presence of a Warhol inspired flower in a Georgia O’Keefe inspired theme with the sense of time and landscape Milewski creates connect to our personal journeys which last a short 100 years and our connected journeys which have lasted a million years.  Where we go to find our nutrition, our energy, our sustenance is clearly tied to the health of our planet, but there must be a balance found so that a Warhol flower could grow and flourish in a wilderness area, so that our sense of culture and community can thrive and prosper alongside wilderness protected areas.  Our sense of self as Americans and as fledging global citizens comes from our sense of journey, from the manifest destiny which still defines our identities to the virtual worlds which now allow us to see the other as our self, all are journeys that take a year, a hundred years, 1000’s of years and if we are lucky millions more years on this planet, on this journey.---Jules Heffe

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