Center for Environmental Arts and Humanities
The Center for Environmental Arts and Humanities supports curricular, creative and research programming of the Art & Ecology area and its Land Arts of the American West program. The Center also aims to foster conversations and collaborations among faculty and students from across the university whose work engage with environmental and social justice themes. It would also aspire to build bridges between the university and the communities in which we live and work.
On April 6, 2020, the Center for Environmental Arts and Humanities was established as a Category I interdisciplinary research center in the Department of Art: Studio, History, Education in the College of Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico (UNM).
Subhankar Banerjee, Professor of Art & Ecology is the founder of the Center and currently serves as its Director. In addition to Banerjee, the Center’s core leadership team is composed of faculty members of the Art & Ecology area: Professors Szu-Han Ho, Catherine Page Harris, Jeanette Hart-Mann, and Research Lecturer Ryan Henel. We thank the Center’s staff member Hope Alvarado, coordinator of the undergraduate Native American scholarship, and faculty members Clarence Cruz and Aaron Fry for their assistance with the scholarship program. A more expanded team of core and affiliated faculty drawn from across the UNM will be announced later in 2021.
The creation of the Center for Environmental Arts and Humanities was made possible with a five-year (2017-2022) seed grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the long-standing financial support from the Lannan Foundation. The Center also acknowledges and appreciates the support of Dr. Susanne Anderson-Riedel, Chair of the Department of Art: Studio, History, Education, and Professor Mary Tsiongas, Associate Dean of Research, College of Fine Arts.
2020 – 2021 Publication / Programming / Support
The Center for Environmental Arts and Humanities was established in April 2020, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, just as cities, states and nations were starting to institute lockdowns to contain the spread of COVID-19. Due to the pandemic, it proved impossible to organize events during the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. However, the Center is pleased to share the news of programming and student support for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Land Arts of the American West
The re-envisioned Land Arts of the American West program was launched in Fall 2020.
The Origin Story
In a May 2017 grant proposal to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Professor Banerjee articulated a vision and the need to establish an interdisciplinary arts and humanities center at UNM. Over a three-year period, from 2017 through 2019, faculty members and students from across UNM, in partnership with academic and cultural institutions, organized a number of regional, national, and transnational creative and scholarly events that collectively addressed biodiversity and the climate crises, Indigenous rights, and environmental and social justice. These events helped build a community of cohorts and a foundation on which the Center for Environmental Arts and Humanities was established in April 2020.
UNM Newsroom: Mary Beth King, “Center for Environmental Arts and Humanities finally on its feet after pandemic start.”
Author Talk: Subhankar Banerjee on “a Library, a Classroom, and the World”
Indian-born American photographer, writer and conservationist Subhankar Banerjee will speak about art, social transformation and “a Library, a Classroom, and the World,” a project in the 2022 Venice Biennale art exhibition Personal Structures organized by the European Cultural Centre in Venice, Italy. Spread across two venues, the historic Palazzo Bembo along the Grand Canal and the Giardini della Marinaressa along the waterfront of the Venice Lagoon, the installation addresses the two most consequential challenges of human history: the biodiversity and climate crises. Banerjee served as the director and cocurator (with Jennifer Garcia Peacock) of an expansive team of artists and scholars who collectively span three generations, represent multiple ethnicities and hail from several continents.
a Library, a Classroom, and the World aims to build bridges across places, peoples and time. It also rebels against our frenzied time and urges us to slow down to take a closer look.
Banerjee is Professor of Art & Ecology and founding Director of both the Center for Environmental Arts and Humanities and the Species in Peril project at the University of New Mexico. His place-based and community-engaged interdisciplinary and intersectional efforts aim to advance multispecies justice to mitigate the intensifying biodiversity and climate crises. Coeditor of The Routledge Companion to Contemporary Art, Visual Culture, and Climate Change (2021), Banerjee was most recently co-host (with U.S. Senator Tom Udall) of the UNM Biodiversity Webinar Series (2020), cocurator of Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande (2019), and convener of the last oil: a multispecies justice symposium (2018). His photographs have been exhibited in more than fifty museum exhibitions around the world.
Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande—regional U.S.-Mexico exhibition and public programming, 2019
Curated by Subhankar Banerjee and Josie Lopez, PhD. 516 ARTS and UNM Art & Ecology.
“MIGRANT SONGS” combines stories and songs from human and non-human migrants, 2019
Created, directed, and produced by Szu-Han Ho, performed at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
Seed: Climate Change Resilience explores arid-land agri-Culture, resiliency, and climate change, 2019
Co-organized by Jeanette Hart-Mann and a number of community organizations, Albuquerque Museum.
“Trans-species: Kangaroo Rats at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge,” ongoing
A project by Catherine Harris, Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.
“Apprenticeship for Art & Social Justice,” ongoing
Lead Artist Ryan Henel, Harwood Art Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Decolonizing Nature: resistance | resilience | revitalization public forum, April 2017
Conference convened by Subhankar Banerjee, National Hispanic Cultural Center; exhibition curated by Lara E. Goldman and Chloë Courtney, 516 ARTS; film screening curated by Axel Christopher Gonzalez and Elspeth Iralu, UNM Art Museum.