Coffee’s up. Come in and pull up a chair. If we were having coffee I would tell you I had a great experience at Desert X last weekend. Several artists from around the world created outdoor art installations around the Coachella Valley. A friend of ours organized our tour and my husband and I viewed several of the displays. We were not able to see all the outdoor art but here are several examples below. You can go to the Desert X 2021 website to see all the exhibits and read about them and the artists.
We did wear masks but felt safe to have the masks off when outdoors and socially distanced. All of our group were vaccinated. We were fortunate that the weather was not overly hot and there was a breeze for most of the day.
The first installation we viewed was ‘What Lies Behind The Walls’ by Saudi Arabian artist Zahrah Alghamdi. We had to hike up a sandy slope to reach it. It was pretty dramatic to see once we got there. Some of material the artist used was desert sand from the local area. The artist talks about ‘the wall’ in the video below. Her hope for the world is not to have walls separating us but walls to connect us.
The next exhibit was ‘The Wishing Well’ by Serge Attukwei Clottey, an African artist. It is constructed in part from the plastic of Kufuor gallon containers that are used to transport water in Ghana.
‘The Wishing Well refers to the wells to which many people around the world must trek daily to access water. Europeans introduced Kufuor gallons, or jerrycans, to the people of Ghana to transport cooking oil. As repurposed relics of the colonial project, they serve as a constant reminder of the legacies of empire and of global movements for environmental justice. Sited in the Coachella Valley, whose future is deeply dependent on water, The Wishing Well creates a dialogue about our shared tomorrow.’ (Desert X website).
‘Women’s Qualities’ by Egyptian artist, Ghada Amer, was the next installation we visited. It was located at Sunnylands Center and Garden. There is more about her display in the video below. She created her installation based on what the people of Palm Springs told her they thought were qualities of women. The qualities are: Nurturing, Resilient, Strong, Caring, Determined, Beautiful, and Loving.
The next exhibit we viewed was ‘The Passenger’ by LA born artist Eduardo Sarabia which represents the experience of those who journey across the desert to get to the United States. It was difficult to walk on the soft sand of the desert in the hot sun to get to this installation. It made me realize that I might not fare well on such a journey.
The last installation we viewed was ‘Jackrabbit Homestead’ by California artist Kim Stringfellow. This was a tiny house that represented the houses of some of the people who participated in a government program called the ‘Small Tract Act’ (1938-2008). This involved up to 5 acres of Federal land sold off for very small price, ($10-20). People could lease the land and if they made some improvement to it, like building a dwelling, they could apply for a patent which was like a deed. There are still some of the structures standing today. Some are still owned and occupied. Click here to read more.
It was a very interesting day and a nice way to step back into what we hope is post-pandemic life here in California.
Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie of Natalie the Explorer. Pop over and visit her lovely blog and see a Linky to the contributions of other writers.