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Letter from the Director: Winter 2007

Hood Quarterly, winter 2007
Brian Kennedy, Director

Winter is upon us in New Hampshire and so is International Polar Year. Dartmouth has a distinguished tradition in Arctic research reaching back to Vilhjalmur Stefansson (1879–1962), the famous explorer and scholar who founded the College’s Northern Studies program. The Hood Museum of Art is delighted to present Thin Ice: Inuit Traditions within a Changing Environment, an exhibition that explores the relationship between the Inuit and their environment.

Today the economic costs of global warming are being calculated in major published studies, and it becomes ever more obvious that governments need to increase funding for energy research and development. College and university students are particularly concerned about the need to invest in sources of renewable energy and to promote responses to the challenges of global warming. The Inuit have been living with climate change in their environment for a very long time. Their experience is an instructive one about the need to be adaptive, flexible, and responsive. The opening lecture to launch the exhibition Thin Ice will be delivered on January 31 by Aqqaluk Lynge, President of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference in Greenland.

Sustainability is also the theme of an exhibition of works by the muchacclaimed artist El Anatsui. Born in Ghana but a longtime resident of Nigeria, El Anatsui is presenting at the Hood his extraordinary metal “tapestries” made from thousands of aluminum wrappers from the tops of bottles. He transforms waste materials into objects of intense aesthetic beauty. In 2005 the Hood acquired the magnificent work Hovor, a detailed image of which is featured on the cover of this edition of the museum’s quarterly. El Anatsui will speak about his work on January 10.

A few days later, on January 12, the Hood will welcome Bonnie Burnham, President of the World Monuments Foundation, who will give a lecture entitled “The Challenge of Cultural Preservation in a Chaotic World.” The Hood has published its annual report for 2005–6 and the exhibitions brochure for 2007, and we encourage you to consult these and much more on our website, which has been relaunched in recent months. We intend to build the site gradually, but already it contains several thousand files. It will be of interest to all who wish to consult the museum’s collections and avail of its public programs and activities. We hope you will enjoy many of them with us.

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