Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land




This exhibition, “The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land,” was the seventeenth exhibition presented by the Museum since it opened in the Keenan-Hartley House in April 2000. Up until then, all our exhibitions had been originated by the Museum, utilizing the donated time and talent of many resourceful guest curators from the community.

There have been many reasons why we elected to custom design our own shows, including our small size and limited resources. As a new museum, we had to develop an impeccable record so that outside agencies would have total confidence in our ability to safeguard their collections.

“The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land” was the first exhibition that was borrowed in its entirety from an outside source, in this case the California Academy of Sciences which organized and designed it. Happily, the prestigious Lannan Foundation, which has supported the work of Subhankar Banerjee, underwrote all the costs.

Subhankar Banerjee, an East Indian émigré who took up photography after a career as a scientist, may not be as well known in the field of nature photography as Ansel Adams. His photographs lack the dramatic tonal contrasts so notable in the work of Adams. But in their simplicity and lack of artifice, Banerjee’s photographs allow the landscape to speak for itself—a landscape which, because of its geographic remoteness and climatic extremes, few of us will ever visit.

Through Banerjee’s eyes, the National Arctic Wildlife Refuge—what former President Jimmy Carter has described, as “America’s last truly great wilderness” — is revealed to us in all its fragile beauty and monumental grandeur. We thank Mr. Banerjee for sharing this experience and the Lannan Foundation for allowing us to bring this exhibition to our appreciative audiences in Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley. I also thank Warren Miller for his help in assembling and designing this brochure.

Elizabeth P. Knowles