Desert X 2021 – What Lies Behind the Walls

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Desert X was conceived with a mission to create and present international contemporary art exhibitions that engage with desert environments through site-specific installations by acclaimed artists from around the world. It is held biennially in the Coachella Valley in Southern California. This year, with a global pandemic and racial and political protests as backdrops, the 2021 edition offers an exhibition of 12 artists exploring the desert as both a place and idea, recognizing the realities of people who reside there and the political, social, and cultural contexts that shape their stories. I was able to visit these recently and wanted to share some images and details here. Desert X runs through May 16 and more information can be found on their website:

Saudi Arabia born artist Zahrah Alghamdi likes to explore memory and history through traditional architecture in both medium and assemblage. For Desert X, she created a sculpture entitled “What Lies Behind the Walls” that echoes and synthesizes the traditionally built forms from her country with the architectural organization found in the Coachella Valley. The result takes the form of a monolithic wall comprised of stacked forms infused with cements, soils, and dyes specific to each region. It expresses a highly individualized language corresponding to feelings, emotions, and memories associated with place and time.


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