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Near the dead piñon where birds gather in autumn

Subhankar Banerjee
Near the dead piñon where birds gather in autumn
From the series Where I Live I Hope to Know
Digital chromogenic print, face- and back-mounted to a petroleum product (Plexiglas)
36 x 48 inches
Courtesy of the artist
© Subhankar Banerjee

As he began to explore Eldorado, Subhankar Banerjee became acquainted with the plants he encountered regularly, noticing their special characteristics and how they changed with the seasons. The title of this continuing body of work, Where I Live I Hope to Know, reflects his growing familiarity with and knowledge of the world around him, achieved partly with the camera.

The cactus in these three pictures became a landmark, a recognizable feature in his excursions, so the artist gave its location a name: Near the dead piñon where birds gather in autumn. Not only is the name specific, for navigational purposes, it also is personal, a reminder that his project is rooted in his close relationship to home turf and a desire for us to see more in the picture than just a cactus.

That Banerjee makes these photographs in a realist style yet gives them a poetic title signals the importance of the cholla and establishes its place in the larger landscape (near the piñon tree), the broader ecosystem (where birds gather), and the cycle of nature (in autumn). Banerjee’s three views of the same cholla are not meant to be viewed as a group, as they are here, but to be encountered separately in space and time as he did over the course of a year.