These images by Alabama native, Mary Virginia Hall, explore feelings of isolation and cultural displacement at “the edge of the Earth,” as she searches for balance and a sense of belonging in her remote surroundings of Utqiaġvik, renamed Barrow in 1825 by British explorers. More than 300 miles above the Arctic Circle, Hall notes that the indigenous Iñupiat people consider the place as home, though she senses the wooden structures there are foreign, writing:
“They don’t belong. Houses stand out conspicuously against the landscape, vestiges of an outside culture, my culture, one that has fatefully assumed dominance.”
The artist’s photography reflects both her vulnerability and her preference to “photograph the structures head on, documenting each in a straightforward, contemplative manner.” She wonders, as do we, “What lies within? A healthy household that is warm and inviting? Or one that is cold and dark, succumbing to deterioration within as well as without? Hope or despair?”
Join us for an artist talk with Mary Virginia Hall on May 18 at 1:00 p.m.