Desert ArtLAB is an interdisciplinary art collaborative, established by museum curator/educator April Bojorquez (Chicana/Rarámuri) and artist/educator Matthew Garcia (Chicano). The collaborative reconceptualizes desert/dryland ecologies not as post-apocalyptic growth of wasteland, but as an ecological opportunity. The exhibition Ecologies of Resistance illustrates the artistic process of the collaborative’s site-specific ecological installation in the high desert of Southern Colorado through the use of artifacts, archival materials, and botanical samples. The collaborative is transforming a plot of blighted land into a thriving dryland ecosystem that also serves as an edible indigenous landscape. Informed by social sculpture, the collaborative believes artists have the ability to altruistically transform and shape their environments and society. Regrowing indigenous ecologies in community space allows for the revitalization of ecological practice and a reimagining of an indigenous dryland cosmology and aesthetic.
Organized by the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, NM
Curated by Andrea R. Hanley, Navajo
About Desert ArtLAB
Desert ArtLAB, established in 2010, is an initiative dedicated to a experimental public art practice exploring connections between ecology, art, and community. Their work gives voice and identifies complex political and social dilemmas that reveal themselves in their constructed environments through projects that activate public space, promote ecological restoration, indigenous foodways, and a new understanding of living in dryland environments. www.desertartlab.com
April Bojorquez has worked in the museum field nationally and internationally as an educator, curator, and researcher. Formerly, she was the curator at the National Hispanic Cultural Center’s Art Museum and is a fellow of the Smithsonian Institution’s Latino Museum Studies Program. Bojorquez works within the intersection of art and anthropology exploring new approaches to museum practices in an increasingly plural society. Influenced by participatory practices and social sculpture, Bojorquez employs diverse strategies to produce immersive and interactive environments exploring place, identity, and museum practices. Bojorquez is a 2016 Creative Capital awardee in Emerging Fields.
Matt Garcia’s artistic practice investigates ecology, its relationship to knowledge systems, and how media can connect communities to a reclaiming or reimagining of lost epistemology. Garcia is currently an assistant professor of Art and Design at Dominican University of California located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Garcia’s work has been presented nationally and internationally at venues such as, École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (Paris, France), Museum of Contemporary Native Art – MoCNA (Santa Fe, NM), Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, The International Symposium on Electronic Art (2012, 2015), Balance-Unbalance Festival (Noose, Australia) and HASTAC (Lima, Peru). Garcia is a 2016 Creative Capital awardee in Emerging Fields.
This program is part of the For Freedoms 50 State Initiative developed to spur greater participation in civic life by generating discussion of values, place and patriotism through the arts.