Subhankar Banerjee (born 1967) is an artist, educator and activist whose images of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other Alaskan wild lands have captured international attention.
Born in Berhampore, India, Banerjee received his bachelor's degree in engineering before moving to the United States, where he received master's degrees in physics and computer science. He worked in scientific fields for six years at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and Boeing in Seattle. In 2000 his childhood passion for art, coupled with a deep love and concern for the wilderness and disappearing indigenous cultures, caused him to leave his career in science and pursue art. Since then he has focused all his efforts on indigenous human rights and land conservation issues in the Arctic.
In 2001 Banerjee began the first of two years of ground-breaking year-around field photography in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The photos he took were published in the book Seasons of Life and Land. Banerjee’s photographs of the Refuge were exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, and controversy erupted when his captions for the photos were altered and the exhibit was moved to a far corner of the museum. Senator Richard J. Durbin and others in Congress felt that the Smithsonian had been pressured, probably by Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, to remove the exhibit from the spotlight because Senator Barbara Boxer had held up Banerjee’s book during a Senate floor debate over oil drilling in the Refuge. The museum maintained the changes were made “for artistic reasons”. Since that exhibit Banerjee's work has catapulted to the top of many gallery and museum lists, and this and other work has been exhibited and collected by museums around the world.
Banerjee has received many awards for his Arctic work including an inaugural Greenleaf Artist Award from the United Nations Environment Programme and an inaugural Cultural Freedom Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. Banerjee will be Artist-in-Residence at Dartmouth College during the 2009 winter term, and during fall Sea Change Artist-Activist Resident of the Gaea Foundation.
Banerjee's book, Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point (Seven Stories Press, Summer 2012), addresses current issues of climate change in the Arctic, resource war, and human rights using first-person narratives from activists, writers, and researchers.
- Tursi, Alexandra (12 April 2010). "The Eco-Critical Photographer: An Interview With Subhankar Banerjee". Identity Theory (webzine). Retrieved 29 March 2011.
- Subhanker Banerjee's web site
- Artists of the Arctic Refuge: Subhanker Banerjee
- Seattleite Subhankar Banerjee's photos of Arctic 'Life and Land' are winning hearts
- Audio file: Subhankar Banerjee discussing his photography and the indigenous peoples of the Arctic