Left side advert image
Right side advert image
Super banner advert image
Subscribe to Print Monthly's RSS feed

Enter your email address here to sign up for our weekly newsletter

Desert X returns with Native American billboards

Desert X returns for its highly anticipated biennial art exhibition, set against the arid backdrop of the Californian Coachella Valley.

Article picture

Photo: by Lance Gerber, courtesy of Desert X and the artist

A series of artists have works on display here - their sculptures and installations using the landscape to highlight important social, environmental and political issues.

‘Jackrabbit, Cottontail & Spirits of the Desert’ is the work of Santa Fe photographer Cara Romero, displayed on towering billboards along the North Gene Autry Trail between East Vista Chino and Interstate 10, set deep in the Coachella Valley.

The series depicts members of the Chemehuevi tribe in modern day settings, to bring a reminder to those passing along the highway of the ancestral history of the land, its people, history and culture. Romero herself was raised on the Chemehuevi Valley Indian reservation along the California shoreline of Havasu Lake in the heart of the Mojave Desert.

The words read: 'No Wall.' Photo: by Lance Gerber, courtesy of Desert X and the artist

Romero tells Desert Sun: “The focus of my work in this series is to ground audience in the testament that Coachella Valley is Indian land. And all of California is Indian land. Yet, due to colonialism, genocide and the erasure of Native history in California schools, people forget, or deny, or simply don’t understand what that means.

“For Native Americans, it means our ancestors, our future generations and our DNA originate here. Our stories and our songs emerge from this place since time immemorial.”

The location of the billboards and the direction in which they are facing appears to further connote the message behind the photographs, although the artist says it is purely a coincidence. The billboards, which faced a different direction in last year’s exhibition, now appear to face the Chemehuevi ancestral lands in the high desert, and into Nevada and Arizona.

For Native Americans, it means our ancestors, our future generations and our DNA originate here. Our stories and our songs emerge from this place since time immemorial

Romero continues: “We researched aesthetics and viewership. We wanted them to have space, be highly visible and allow people to enjoy them. The placement was not strategic to Chemehuevi ancestral routes or lands necessarily, but I do appreciate how people interpret art. I want them to think of all kinds of things they would never think of.”

“It’s been an honour to be a part of the continued expansion of Desert X, adding co-curators Amanda Hunt and Matthew Schum to the team, reaching south to the Salton Sea and beyond into Mexico and embracing a range of ecological, environmental and social issues that have been driving conversations about our role in the Anthropocene,” says artistic director Neville Wakefield.

Desert X is organised by Desert Biennial, a not-for-profit charity founded in 2015 that brings international artists to the Valley to focus attention on the environment whilst engaging the public with socio-political-economic issues.

The exhibition spans 50 miles along the picturesque Californian landscape and is on display from February 9th to April 21st, 2019.

If you have a news story, email summer@linkpublishing.co.uk or follow us on Twitter to have your say.


Print printer-friendly version Printable version Send to a friend Contact us

No comments found!  

Sign in:

Email 

or create your very own Sign Link account  to join in with the conversation.


Top Right advert image
Top Right advert image

Poll Vote

How has the Brexit vote affected your firm?

Top Right advert image