Project: The Desertification Cookbook

The Desertification Cookbook visually re-brands the concept of deserts not as a post-apocalyptic growth of wasteland, but as a culinary and ecological opportunity. As desertification spreads, desert ArtLAB says: Don’t panic… Eat. The diverse spectrum of flora and fauna found in healthy desert regions around the world has been a source of food, medicine, intoxicants and mythology dating back to a pre-agricultural era. This knowledge is becoming increasingly vital as 40 percent of global population live in expanding dryland regions. The cookbook will examine strategies for living based on the limits of our environment. The project will also pilot an ecological installation in an urban desert community to demonstrate the resilience of arid land ecologies.

Awardee: April Bojorquez

Emerging Fields, 2016

April Bojorquez works within the intersection of art and anthropology. Influenced by participatory practices and social sculpture, Bojorquez employs diverse strategies to produce immersive and interactive learning environments exploring place, identity and museum practices. Bojorquez has worked in the museum field nationally and internationally as a curator, educator, and researcher, exploring new approaches to museum practices in an increasingly multicultural society. Bojorquez has curated numerous exhibits, public programs, symposia and interventions. Born and raised in the Sonoran desert, she has inherited generations of ancestral desert food practice and is an advocate of indigenous foodways.

Awardee: Matt Garcia

Emerging Fields, 2016

Growing up in the American Southwest, much of Matt Garcia’s work investigates the subjectivity of American truth, ecology and visual culture. As an interdisciplinary artist he is interested in a place-based artistic practice that explores the intersection of new media, community, and place. Garcia seeks and creates interdisciplinary platforms to generate dialogues of art and creative practices within and beyond the gallery.  Garcia is a co-founder of the interdisciplinary collaborative desert ArtLAB. The collaborative sets to reconceptualize desert ecologies and consider how native ecologies can inform identity, equality and resilience in dryland cultures and communities. Work produced by the collaborative gives voice and identifies complex political and social problems the reveal themselves in our natural environments.

Collab: desert ArtLAB

desert ArtLAB is dedicated to a social art practice, explores connections between ecology, culture and community. Through multimedia performance, visual and social art, desert ArtLAB seeks to inform a discourse regarding desert ecologies, while challenging residents to consider how native ecology can inform identity, progress, and the sustainability of desert cultures and communities. The collaborative’s projects activate public space, promoting ecological restoration, dryland food practice, and a new understanding of living in desert environments.