Socially Engaged Art; Curating Contemporary Art; Educational Innovation
Ph.D., Columbia University
M.Phil., University of Sussex, England
A.B., University of Michigan
Curriculum Vitae (pdf)
Mary Oestereicher Hamill
Mary Oestereicher Hamill is a pioneer of participatory photo-based art regarding social issues. She also is Co-Director of the Bernstein Gallery at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
In a multi-year project begun in the 90’s, she loaned video cameras to homeless people and transformed the imagery and sound into collaborative interactive installations at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Sanders Theatre, Harvard; and the Massachusetts State House. Her seminal “Constructs of Frailty” (Rose Art Museum) led to a medical mission in remote rural Vietnam; and this resulted in a collaborative exhibition in the village center and an installation at Stanford University. Her expedition to ancient Beijing neighborhoods engendered street photography by the residents and a festive art display there; this phase was followed by projecting the China images outdoors in Chinatown, New York, and then exhibiting the entirety at the Danforth Museum. Hamill collaborated with Native Americans in New Mexico for the Abiquiu Music Festival. She also developed an installation based on her service as a Public Affairs Officer on the hospital ship USNS Mercy in the South China Sea. She co-directs the Cambodia War Widows Project with Chath PierSath: elderly widows in an impoverished village create fabric prints to commemorate their husbands, whom they lost to atrocities. Her artwork has been exhibited in Canada, England, France, India, Spain, Uruguay and other countries.
Hamill’s consistent focus on the needs of poor and marginalized people proceeds from a career in educational reform, work that led to four national awards and to a set of U.S. legislation (PL94-142). She served as Senior Research Scientist in the New York Mental Health system, tenured Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Brooklyn College, and Associate Professor of Psychology and Dean Undergraduate Studies at Babson College, where she led an acclaimed curriculum reinvention. Hamill has a Diploma from the Museum School and the Traveling Scholar Award, and has had numerous fellowships including Djerassi Resident Artist Program and Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She earned the Ph.D., Columbia University; M.Phil., University of Sussex, England; and A.B., University of Michigan. In 2014 the national Women’s Caucus for Art appointed her representative to the United Nations. The mother of two adult sons, she is based in New York City and Princeton.
In addition to my own art practice, I am curating three forthcoming exhibitions: jihad and the women of Mali; the aftermath of El Salvador’s civil war; and civil rights workers of the mid-sixties. I am also working on a retrospective catalog of the Bernstein Gallery’s fifteen years of art exhibitions on social and political issues.
”Remote Possibilities: Making Art with Marginalized People (China, Vietnam, Cambodia),” United Nations Conference of the Commission on the Status of Women, New York, 2014.
“Cambodia War Widows Project,” with Chath pierSath, Bernstein Gallery, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, 2015; and Sangker Gallery, Battambang, Cambodia, 2016.