“PASCUA” was included in and inspired the concept for the exhibition “Desert Serenade” curated by Christie Davies for the Lannan Foundation. (2014)
“Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders.” – William Faulkner, “Light in August”.
Easter Sunday 2012 and 2013, I photographed White Sands in New Mexico. Traditionally families from this border region celebrate Easter, Pascua, there. For this project the White Sands images are paired with oceanscapes from the Atlantic Ocean as the minerals of the sand dunes and the gypsum carry the memory of the ocean that was there millions of years ago.
I can still “hear the silence,” the happy silence of so many people interconnected on the White Dunes engaging in beach activities far away from any large body of water. Simultaneous, multiple activities on this sloped white hill, appear as if layers of different people and activities were choreographed, yet they are all parallel realities of various groupings enjoying Pascua, Easter Sunday. Endless sweeping sand hills, crowned on their border with enormous snow covered mountains in the far distance.
The white sand signifies purity to us even though the contrary is the case. Since the 1940s military tests including missile tests have been conducted here. About twice monthly the whole area is closed for testing. This pure white paradise, no doubt, is harboring harmful rays. Yet, once a year, border families gather for a peaceful time, violence, anger, and fear swept away for a day.
Inspired by “PASCUA” Radius Books published “Ocean | Desert”, available via Radius Books with essay by Janet Dees, Steven and Lisa Munster Tananbaum Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Block Museum of Art