Exhibition & Roundtable

Harwood Museum of Art, December 13, 2019 - Sunday, May 17, 2020

“While the two bodies of work look aesthetically different—together, the modest selection drawn from the two series—aims to highlight how Arctic Alaska and New Mexico are related in many significant ways—physical, biological, cultural, and economic,” –Subhankar Banerjee

Long Environmentalism, combines for the first time, two bodies of photographic works by artist, scholar and activist Subhankar Banerjee, cocurator of the Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande exhibition.. One series, created in the early 2000s, depicts ecological nurseries and Indigenous relations with land and animals in Alaska’s Arctic. The second series, created more recently, portrays dying piñon in the New Mexico desert. Through his camera’s lens, Banerjee explores how the Arctic and New Mexico are interconnected. The exhibit takes place in the museum’s Mandelman-Ribak Gallery.

Banerjee explains that both regions are considered “desert” because of low annual precipitation; both are warming at a higher pace than the global average pace due to climate change; both boast rich biological diversity and sustain the migrating snow geese who are born in the Arctic and winter in the Southwest; both are home to many Indigenous nations who have complex, long-lasting relationships to the wild animals and plants of their regions; and both places have been exploited by extractive economies causing environmental injustice against Indigenous and other marginalized communities.

The exhibition also highlights the “long environmentalism” of both regions. In Arctic Alaska, by drawing attention to the intergenerational, multiple decade, multispecies justice campaign to protect the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas development. In New Mexico, by laying the foundation for an intergenerational engagement to address the vast piñon die-off since the turn of this century. The old–growth piñon forest in New Mexico suffered a mass die-off—about 55 million trees, 90% of all mature piñon trees in northern New Mexico, died between 2001 and 2005.

Rural Environmentalisms: A Roundtable

Current exhibiting artist Subhankar Banerjee will moderate a discussion with: Sarah James, Gwich’in Nation elder from Arctic Village in Alaska; Jennifer Garcia Peacock, James B. Duke Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Davidson College in North Carolina; and Jeannette Hart-Mann, Assistant Professor of Art and Ecology and Director of Land Arts of the American West at the University of New Mexico. This event is FREE and open to the public and is co-organized by the Harwood Museum of Art and UNM Art & Ecology.

Banner image: Subhankar Banerjee, Dead piñon where birds gather in autumn, from Where I Live I Hope to Know, New Mexico, 2009, photograph.
All installation photos are courtesy of the Harwood Museum of Art.