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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755
603.646.2808
hood.museum@dartmouth.edu

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Press Release

caribou migration
Subhankar Banerjee, Caribou Migration I, 2002, UltraChrome print. Purchased through the Charles F. Venrick 1936 Fund; 2006.61

Hood Exhibits Monumental Arctic Habitat Photographs by Subhankar Banerjee

HANOVER, N.H.--The Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, will exhibit four monumental habitat photographs through an installation titled Subhankar Banerjee: Resource Wars in the American Arctic from March 27 through May 20, 2007. Five years ago, Banerjee spent almost two years in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, photographing this remote region in northeastern Alaska in all four seasons. His work there coincided with the push by oil companies and the current U.S. administration to open up the oil and gas reserves on the coastal plain to drilling. During his travels over nearly four thousand miles of the 19.5-million-acre refuge by foot, raft, kayak, and snowmobile, he stayed in interior and coastal villages with both Gwich’in Athabascan and Inupiat families, respectively, absorbing their close and intricate relationships to the northern environment and the birds and animals that thrive there.

Soon after Banerjee returned, controversy surrounding an exhibition of his work at the Smithsonian--and his clear advocacy of preservation in the accompanying written texts--put him in the middle of the heated political dispute about the drilling proposal. During a debate on the U.S. Senate floor a month before the exhibition opening, Senator Barbara Boxer actually held up one of Banerjee’s photographs. The work subsequently toured the country, accompanied by the catalogue Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land (2003), with a foreword by Nobel Peace Laureate and former U.S. president Jimmy Carter and essays by Peter Matthiessen and Terry Tempest Williams, a recent Montgomery fellow at Dartmouth, among others. Banerjee’s passionate work for the preservation of Arctic natural sanctuaries made him the first recipient of the Lannan Foundation’s Cultural Freedom Fellowship.

In 2006, Banerjee returned to Alaska and photographed Teshekpuk Lake and its surrounding wetlands and the Kasegaluk Lagoon in the northern Chukchi Sea, both of which remain under consideration for development for oil and gas drilling.

The Hood is exhibiting work from both of these trips through four monumental habitat photographs depicting polar bear, Pacific brant and snow geese, and caribou. In addition, the Hood is exhibiting a recent acquisition titled Caribou Migration I (2002) that is now on view in the entrance lobby of the museum. 

Banerjee has written about the transformative effect of his experiences photographing the northern regions: "In late 2000, when I first started to plan my journey to the Arctic, I used to think of the land as untouched by man, a so-called Last Frontier. After six years of intense engagement with the land, its peoples, and its issues, I see the Arctic not as a Last Frontier but as the most connected land on the planet. This connection is both celebratory--millions of birds from every land on the planet migrate to the Arctic each year for nesting and rearing their young, a planetary celebration of epic scale--and tragic, as resource wars (oil, coal, mineral), global warming, and toxic migrations have in turn connected the Arctic to the lives of people in faraway lands in a rather tragic manner too."

In the spring, Banerjee will talk about his experiences photographing the American Arctic and getting involved in preservation and conservation issues related to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other areas. A reception will follow in Kim Gallery.

About the Hood

The Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College is an accredited member of the American Association of Museums (AAM) and is cited by AAM as a national model. The Hood is located in the heart of downtown Hanover, N.H., in an award-winning building designed by Charles Moore. The museum’s outstanding and diverse collections include American portraits, paintings, watercolors, drawings, silver, and decorative arts, European Old Master prints and drawings, paintings, and sculpture, and ancient, Asian, African, Oceanic, and Native American collections from almost every period in history to the present. The Hood regularly displays its collections and organizes major traveling exhibitions while featuring major exhibitions from around the country. The museum provides a rich diversity of year-round public programs.

Admission is free of charge. Operating hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 12 noon to 5 p.m. The Hood Museum of Art Gift Shop offers items inspired by the collections and exhibitions. The Hood is wheelchair accessible and offers assistive listening devices. For further accessibility requests, please contact the museum. For more information about the collections, exhibitions, and programs, visit www.hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu.

Last Updated: 3/20/07