DesertArtLAB’s experimental public art practice works at the intersection of ecology, culture, and community
The Desertification Cookbook—a collection of bilingual community driven recipes, statements, and actions for exploring, surviving, and belonging in the desert borderlands and the expanding global drylands.
Mobile ECO-STUDIO—a portable native ecology site distributing restorative desert cacti and seed mix to desert communities within ecologically stressed urban zones
Creative Capital awardees in Emerging Field category (2016)
Climate Change; Economic Disparity; Environmental Justice & Ecological Systems; Equality & Equity; Extractivism, Deforestation & Desertification; Immigration & Migration; Indigenous Practices; Post-/Anti-Colonialism & Decolonization; Power & Privilege; Resilience, Wellness & Mental Health; Survival & Self-Determination; Water & Food Practices
DesertArtLAB is an interdisciplinary artist collaborative co-directed by April Bojorquez (she/her) and Matthew Garcia (he/him) whose work promotes Indigenous perspectives on ecological practice and climate change.
Grounded in dryland indigenous knowledge systems, DesertArtLAB’s projects activate public space through participatory artworks and support the restoration of desert environments through zero irrigation regrowth projects. In promoting an ecologically-centered food practice and aesthetic, their community-based works recast the post-apocalyptic concept of the desert as a culinary opportunity for the future.
To demonstrate the resilience of dryland environments, in 2016 they launched an ecological installation in the urban high desert community of Pueblo, Colorado. By deploying Indigenous agricultural practices their installation transformed a blighted plot of urban land into a revitalized landscape of edible and medicinal flora. While functioning as extended time-based artworks, their practice honors the complex history and knowledge built into these landscapes.
DesertArtLAB have exhibited their work at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France; The Museum of Contemporary Native Art, Santa Fe, NM; the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara; and at the Balance-Unbalance Festival, Noose, Australia. They have been guest presenters at the International Symposium on Electronic Art and at HASTAC, (Lima, Peru). April and Matt were awarded the Creative Capital grant in 2016; they live and work in Pueblo, Colorado.