Season's of Life and Land, A Photographic Journey by Subhankar Banerjee

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Date: 2003

Region: North America

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Photography


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Artist: Subhankar Banerjee (b.1967)

Confronting Bodies: Members of the United States Senate; Lawrence M. Small

Date of Action: April 2003

Location: Washington D.C.

Description of Artwork: Banerjee's book, Season's of Life and Land, A Photographic Journey by Subhankar Banerjee, is a collection of his photographs taken on his fourteen month excursion through the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

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The Incident: Banerjee's photographs were scheduled to be placed on exhibit in the Smithsonian's main floor rotunda, however, were moved to a lower-level room at the last minute. In addition, many of Banerjee's captions taken from his book were deleted or shortened. This led to an investigation questioning Smithsonian Secretary, Lawrence M. Small's, motives for moving and editing the exhibit. It has been alleged that Small censored the show and placed it in an obscure location to detract attention from the Arctic Wildlife Refuge at a time when debates were underway in Congress as to whether the refuge should be open for gas and oil drilling.

Results of Incident: Small maintains that there was no pressure or attempt to advocate drilling in the refuge, however an investigation into this case and whether or not the museum is used to advocate political issues is ongoing.

Source: www.artistsnetwork.org, The New York Times