From Aesthetic Shock to Ethical Awakening: How an Environmental Artist and Activist Found Purpose

July 17, 2020

Environmental activist, photographer, and teacher Subhankar Banerjee recounts a time, shortly after moving to New Mexico, when he walked out of his house to encounter a small dead bird lying motionless on the porch. This humble, private moment of grief, confusion, and aesthetic complexity echoed the sensations he had previously felt while viewing Albert Pinkham Ryder’s 19th-century painting “The Dead Bird.” As Banerjee’s career has evolved to address the large-scale crisis of global biological annihilation, he still emphasizes that this small interaction between the human and non-human affected him profoundly and set him on a lifelong ethical journey.