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Land Arts of the American West

journal entry

Paul Ross
Angel Peak, New Mexico
September 2017

A version of something Sunny told us:
We are all stones
In a river
Time and water
Share the task of rounding our edges
And polishing beads of quarts or topaz,
Until our river dries up
(as it will one day)
And someone happens to come along
Who likes our luster.
And they pick us up,
And take us on.


August 28 – September 1: Cunningham Gulch, Silverton, Colorado
September 2 – 5: Mer-girl Gardens, La Villita, New Mexico
September 6 – 12: Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, New Mexico
September 20 – 26: Resource Exploitation, Diné Storytelling, Bloomfield, New Mexico
September 27 – 28: Glen Canyon Dam + Lake Powell, Page, Arizona
September 29 – October 5: Muley Point, Utah
October 15 – 21: Borderlands Institute, Patagonia, Arizona
October 22 – 27: Gila River, New Mexico
October 28 – November 1: White Sands, New Mexico


Guests and Partners included: Subhankar Banerjee, Museum of Southwest Biology, Asha Canalos, Biocultura, KB Jones, Santa Fe Art Institute, Syrus Marcus Ware, Melisse Watson, Gil Nogolé, Daniel Tso, Sunny Dooley, Jonah Yellowman, Borderland Restoration Network, Su-Ying Lee, Xenia Benivolski, Orien MacDonald

Land Arts of the American West

LAAW visited artist and farmer Ron Boyd at Mer-Girl Gardens in La Villita, New Mexico to explore methods of sustainable and biodynamic farming. Ron has been cultivating native corn seedstock as well as other regionally adapted plants on this five-acre farm along the Rio Grande river. LAAW students were able to explore methods of harvesting, pest-control, and human-powered machines for threshing, as well as ways to re-use materials in creative ways.

Land Arts of the American West

As part of a multi-year investigation into the Four Corners region, LAAW met with local Diné activist Daniel Tso to witness the effect of fracking on the environment and community in the region. Recent incursions of drilling have brought greater uncertainty to the protection of the Greater Chaco Canyon region. Surrounded by fracking sites on BLM land, the student encampment was visited by Diné storyteller Sunny Dooley who shared her story and provided a workshop to students.

Land Arts of the American West

The Glen Canyon Dam in Page, Arizona holds back the waters of the Colorado River, forming Lake Powell. Prior to its construction in the late 1950’s, Glen Canyon once held many cultural sites important to the original native inhabitants of the region. In 2017, LAAW visited this site to investigate the immediate and long-term cultural, ecological and political consequences of a human construct of this scale.

Land Arts of the American West

In 2017, Land Arts of the American West partnered with Borderlands Restoration Network for a site investigation and collaborative field project.

Land Arts of the American West

LAAW partnered with the Santa Fe Art Institute during their Equal Justice Residency, selecting three resident artists to travel with LAAW, gathering for resident potlucks and presenting at SFAI 140.

Land Arts of the American West

Out Into the the Field - LAAW artists experiment with creative process, performance, and embodied research across bioregional Field Investigation Sites in 2017.

Land Art of the American West

Video, performance, and time-based works from 2017 LAAW artists.

Land Arts of the American West

2017 Land Arts of the American West Exhibition at the University of New Mexico, John Sommers Gallery featuring culminating works from participating artists.

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