Hello friends! I’m writing from the road on my rescheduled WMAA 2019 travels. Originally, I was supposed to be in my travels March/April, but the universe had other things in mind! Luckily, camping is fairly Covid-19 safe, so I am able to maintain distance from people and take good precautions with masks and hand washing as I am traveling.
My original project was to travel the southwest to different national parks and natural areas to study the climate and landscape that is so much different than the one I call home in Minnesota. I am greatly inspired by how I, as a queer artist, fit into and process the world, and I use imagery inspired by the landscape to do that in my art practice. Much of it is about change, growth, cycles, and finding strength in personal identity.
Even though my travels had to be rescheduled, there has been so much to learn and grow from in the world around us. A global pandemic, the Minneapolis uprising and subsequent protesting of police brutality across the nation, horrible wildfires, Ruth Bader Ginsburg passing in a time of great political tension and unrest. I am sure I can speak for everyone that it has been overwhelming and exhausting. There has been so much change and examination of our personal roles in our communities, big and small. I am still examining this for myself, which I believe these travels will help influence in a meaningful and positive way.
The full list of parks I’ll be visiting is Mesa Verde, Petrified Forest, The Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, and Zion. (My last stop was supposed to be Sequoia National Forest, but that is closed due to the wild fires) I’m writing the first stop , Mesa Verde, which I’ll be heading out from tomorrow. This is where the ancestral Pueblo peoples lived from about 500 -1300 AD. Through this time period, these people changed from living in pit houses, to wood and stone dwellings on top of the mesas, to eventually building underneath them and farming the land on top. It’s so amazing to see the innovative architecture and using the mesas and natural rock face to create the most comfortable and well functioning living spaces in this climate. Eventually, the Ancestral Pueblo people’s migrated out of this immediate area. Most of us clay people know of Pueblo pottery, but this architectural record is breathtaking.
There is much to be learned from the indigenous peoples of North America! Past and present.
Next stop: Petrified Forest!
-Elliot , they/them
|A photo of the Cliff Palace. There were various other cliff dwellings to see from afar, such as Spruce house and others.|
|A Pueblo Kiva. Kivas are still used in Pueblo tradition today.|
|A two room Pithouse|
|The remains of a cliff dwelling on the petroglyph point trail.|
|A rendition of the petroglyphs on the trail. Was not sure about my role as a non Pueblo visitor and the significance of these so I am sharing a drawing from the guide instead.|