Sand to Stone: Contemporary Native American Art In Joshua Tree
Sand to Stone: Contemporary Native American Art in Joshua Tree is a multidisciplinary art project highlighting contemporary Native American artists from the four tribes (Cahuilla, Chemehuevi, Mojave and Serrano) who have significant cultural ties to Joshua Tree National Park. Over the course of one year, this community collaboration will feature an art exhibition, sitespecific installations, performances, education programs, a dedicated website, and a modest publication. Each component encourages Native American artists and local communities to respond to the land within and around park boundaries and to reconnect with the park in the production, exhibition, exploration, and performance of art, music and dance. These activities will have the added benefit of fostering cross-cultural interactions and reaching diverse populations historically underserved by the mainstream arts community.
Visit www.sandtostone.org for more project details.
Lewis deSoto, an artist of Cahuilla ancestry, is internationally recognized for his photographs, installations, sculpture and public art that engage cosmological questions, notions of self, and cultural mythologies. He has been exhibiting his art professionally for over 30 years and his artworks can be found in museum collections around the country, most notably the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Influenced by anthropology, sociology, history, religion, literature and music, deSoto is recognized for his conceptual artwork, as well as his culturally-specific and site-specific installations that transform spaces through light, audio and video. In talking about Tahquitz, a site-specific collaboration with Erin Neff at UCR’s Culver Center for the Arts in 2012, he states, “I’m a big believer in the fact that culture is always hybridizing and building on existing forms, combining others. The idea that a western form of singing could harmonize with an ancient indigenous song is very interesting to me. We often think of these cultures being at odds, but in fact there are many ways in which these cultures have created new ones.” This statement encapsulates a personal philosophy that emerges within a number of deSoto’s artworks.
Visit Lewis deSoto at: www.LewisDeSoto.net
Cara Romero is a dedicated photographer, cultural activist, wife and mother of Chemehuevi and German-Irish descent. She holds degrees in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Houston, Fine Art Photography from the Institute of American Indian Arts, and Photography Technology from Oklahoma State University. She is the former Executive Director of the Chemehuevi Cultural Center, served on the Chemehuevi Tribal Council, and is currently the Director of the Indigenous Knowledge Program at Santa Fe’s Bioneers – a nonprofit dedicated to social change. Last Indian Market photographRomero is passionate about indigenous cultural studies, the conservation of cultural resources, the preservation of undeveloped landscapes and sacred sites, and is dedicated to her photographic practice.
Romero’s strength is as a contemporary visual storyteller, rewriting the ideas of Indian identity, battling cultural misappropriation, and confronting stereotypes, while preserving tradition and maintaining cultural sensitivity. Her whimsical and challenging photography reflects her training in film, digital, fine art, journalism, editorial portraiture, and Water Memorycommercial photography. Romero’s most recent bodies of work are large scale photographs representative of her Chemehuevi identity, her passion for editorial photography, and a decade of photo documentary work in Indian Country. It represents a response to current events and issues in Indian Country ranging from environmental impact on indigenous communities to the portrayal of indigenous women in popular culture.
Visit Cara Romero at: www.CaraRomeroPhotography.com
Gerald Clarke Jr.
Gerald Clarke Jr. is an artist, educator, cattle rancher, small business owner, father and active member of the Cahuilla Band of Mission Indians. He currently lives on the reservation, working his family’s ranch and is culturally active, having served on the Tribal Council as Vice-Chairman. Clarke also seamlessly balances his teaching responsibilities and creative practice; he is the Visual Arts Chair at Idyllwild Arts Academy where he teaches Sculpture, Drawing and New Media, Continuim Basketand previously served as Assistant Professor of Art at East Central University in Ada, OK. He is frequently called upon to function as an advisor to the art community at large, all while tirelessly developing his own artistic practice. This November he will participate in the Artist-in-Residence program at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM.
Schooled in the craft, art and traditions of his ancestors and trained academically as a painter and sculptor, Clarke is known for his innovative take on traditional techniques. He values craftsmanship as a conveyance of pride, respect and authority, but he pushes these ageless methods to the edge, using them as inspiration from which to experiment with creating new forms and deconstructing old ideas. He strives to express his contemporary indigenous experience in his art, which is intimately connected to his life, family and community. “In my work, I look for the unconventional beauty one finds only in truths. It celebrates, it mourns, and outshines all else.” One Tract MindWorking in installation, performance, painting, video, sculpture and glass – Clarke seeks to give voice to his Native American community by dispelling myths, bringing truths to the forefront, and finding a middle ground between perception and reality.
Visit Gerald Clarke at: www.GeraldClarke.net