Maya Lin’s tenure as a Lunder Institute senior fellow started with great enthusiasm, a feeling that continues to grow along with her network of Colby and community collaborators. In addition to delivering online lectures and participating in discussions in several courses at Colby, Lin has embarked on outreach to encourage the participation of Maine’s K–12 students in What Is Missing?, her “last memorial” to the environment.
In October, Lin discussed the memorial with a lively virtual audience of Maine’s teachers during an Educator Evening co-organized by the Lunder Institute and the Museum. Framed as a storytelling initiative, Lin’s project asks our younger audience members to interview people in their communities to uncover local narratives about endangered species and habitat loss.
“Interview your grandparents, interview your great-grandparents,” Lin suggested. “It’s a wonderful way to have older generations connect with younger generations through nature.” The students will then have the opportunity to contribute their stories to What Is Missing?, spotlighting Maine on Lin’s map of memories.
In discussing the state’s leading role in conservation and dam removal, Lin anticipates that Maine stories might demonstrate natural abundance and recovery, countering narratives of loss elsewhere. “Everywhere we can showcase how much conservation has helped nature rebound is a success for me,” said Lin. Environmental hope has been a key message in her academic engagements at Colby and across Maine. “Art can give us hope by showing us a road map. Nature is resilient. If we protect it, nature can be and has been restored.”
As one teacher attending the Educator Evening said, “This is a great project with an artist who is totally committed to working in a sensible, historical way [about how] our planet has changed.”
We are excited to share the impact of Lin’s fellowship in a virtual program featuring the artist and some of her Colby collaborators, to be held in spring 2021.
Image: Detail of Maya Lin: A River Is a Drawing, Installation at Hudson River Museum, 511 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers, NY, October 12, 2018–January 20, 2019.