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Louie Palu: Distant Early Warning

February 14June 10

The Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery presents Louie Palu: Distant Early Warning, on display from February 14 through June 10.

Distant Early Warning, a multi-year project (2015–2018) by Canadian/American photojournalist Louie Palu, provides a look at the evolving militarization in the North American Arctic driven by invented narratives and imagined threats. Now, decades after the end of the Cold War, debates have emerged over more efficient shipping routes, opportunities for resource extraction and the future of the Arctic related to climate change. Along with the six other Arctic nations (Finland, Greenland (Denmark), Iceland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden), the United States and Canada are maneuvering to assert and defend their claims over the territory. Consequently, some Indigenous communities in the region are slowly coming face to face with increased geo-political activity and tourism. This exhibition examines operations of power and bears witness to a culture of fear and hyper-preparedness as we brace for an unknown future.

This exhibition is presented concurrently with North Pole Narratives: Photographs from the Wendorff Collection on Robert E. Peary.

Visitor Information

Admission is free.

Library Gallery hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sunday: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Please note: The Library Gallery will be closed on Saturdays beginning May 28, and will be closed on Sunday, May 29 and Monday, May 30.

Please visit here for directions and parking information.

Please note: Masks are required in some indoor spaces at UMBC. Please visit here to view current information.

Public Programs

The artist will give an online public talk on his work on February 22 at 5 p.m.

On Monday, April 4, please join us for two events:

12 – 5 p.m.: a participatory installation of photographs from Distant Early Warning encased in blocks of ice in the plaza outside the Albin O. Kuhn Library and in a hands-on display in the Library Gallery.

5 p.m.: a panel discussion at the Library Gallery featuring Louie Palu with Nathan Kurtz, Ph.D. ’09, physics, Chief of NASA’s Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory, Deputy Project Scientist for NASA’s ICESat-2 satellite mission, and Brian Grodsky, Professor of Comparative Politics and Chair of the Political Science Department.

Featured image: On reconnaissance outside Resolute Bay on Cornwallis Island, Nunavut, Canada Arctic Operations Advisors walk on the wreckage of an airplane in temperatures below minus 50 degrees Celsius (-58 F). Photo © Louie Palu. Strictly for use related to the Distant Early Warning exhibition at UMBC. No other use is permitted.

Palu’s work was supported by funding from the John Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, National Geographic Magazine, and Pulitzer Center. The presentation of this exhibition is supported by a project grant from the Baltimore County Commission on the Arts & Sciences and an arts program grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of Maryland and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support comes from the Libby Kuhn Endowment Fund, as well as individual contributions.



February 14
June 10
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Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery
Albin O. Kuhn Library, 1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD 21250 United States
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