eduardo sarabia desert x 2021

Navigating Desert X 2021

From March 12 through May 16, the desert becomes the canvas for the works of 13 artists. Its outdoor orientation couldn't have come at a better time during a pandemic.

JIM POWERS Arts & Entertainment, Current Digital

eduardo sarabia desert x 2021

Situated at Frank Sinatra Drive and Portola Avenue in Palm Desert, explore The Passenger by Eduardo Sarabia as part of Desert X 2021.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY LANCE GERBER

This past year has felt like a maze to many of us. The Covid-19 pandemic has made us all feel trapped whether it’s literally inside our homes or the feeling that won’t leave our minds.

When he created his art installation for Desert X, Eduardo Sarabia first thought of the journey his mother made through the desert to live in the United States.

“I was thinking a lot about journey and a maze kept coming up in my head,” says Sarabia. “It's one of those symbols that just represents how complicated things can be or feel. The viewer enters the maze and they become the passenger.”

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The walls are constructed from petates, a material used in Mexico for sleeping mats.

Sarabia’s installation is one of 11 that open today (March 12) and will remain available for the public to view and engage with through May 16. This is the third edition of Desert X and given the circumstances of the pandemic, a welcome sight outdoors that attracts both art lovers and the curious.

“My hope for this year's exhibition is that it will be one that brings nourishment and joy to our virtual and live audiences,” says Susan Davis, founder and president of Desert X, “after what has been a difficult and often isolating year. One that once again, we celebrate together the power of art to inspire and unite us.”

Sarabia’s installation, located at Frank Sinatra Drive and Portola in Palm Desert, literally lets the public take their own journey much like we have this past year with the pandemic.

“Once you make all the decisions that get you to this center area, that's where anything is possible,” Sarabia says. “I'm hoping that they're willing to contemplate their situation and have a little bit of perspective on somebody else's situation. You're imagining all the possibilities before you see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Two of the installations are still a work in progress. Judy Chicago was originally slated to hold her event installation, Living Smoke, in April at The Living Desert. However, the Palm Desert attraction pulled out after concerns were voiced locally about the environmental impact of her smoke-induced artwork. Stay tuned to the Desert X website for updates on a new location.

A mural by Oscar Murillo titled Frequencies is also in the process of setting up venues and dates for display.

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The Wishing Well by Serge Attukwei Clottey, located at the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center in Palm Springs.

What You Should Know

• Wear a mask at all of the installations. Keep a safe distance from others and avoid touching the artwork or surfaces. Hand sanitation stations are available at many Desert X locations.

• This free event is headquartered at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs where you can pick up a Desert X 2021 guide, map of the art installations and visitor information. The opening house this weekend are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check the website for hours starting March 15.

• There are guided and docent-led tours. Email info@desertx.org for more information. You will also find docents available at most of the Desert X installations from 10 a.m. to noon throughout the run of the exhibit.

• A pop-up store featuring Desert X swag is open at 463 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Visit super-number-one.com for store hours.

• You’ll also notice a geodesic dome sitting just behind Le Vallauris restaurant, 385 W. Tahquitz Canyon Way, in Palm Springs. The installation is a collaboration of Gucci and The North Face, which has resulted in a special clothing line featured in the March 2021 issue of Palm Springs Life.

Visit desertx.org.

desert x art installation locations
ZAHRAH ALGHAMDI

What Lies Behind the Walls
Pierson Boulevard between Foxdale Drive and Miracle Hill Road, Desert Hot Springs.

GHADA AMER

Women’s Qualities
Sunnylands Center & Gardens,
37977 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage.

SERGE ATTUKWEI CLOTTEY

The Wishing Well
James O. Jessie Desert Highland
Unity Center, 480 W. Tramview Road, Palm Springs.

FELIPE BAEZA

Finding Home in My Own Flesh
201 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs.

NICHOLAS GALANIN

Never Forget
North of the Palm Springs Visitors Center at Tramway Road,
2901 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

ALICJA KWADE

ParaPivot
71690 Channel Run Road, Sky Valley.

CHRISTOPHER MYERS

The Art of Taming Horses
Tahquitz Canyon Way between Sunrise Way and Civic Drive, Palm Springs.

EDUARDO SARABIA

The Passenger
Frank Sinatra Drive and Portola Avenue, Palm Desert.

XAVIERA SIMMONS

Because You Know Ultimately 
We Will Band A Militia
Gene Autry Trail (northbound and southbound), Palm Springs.

KIM STRINGFELLOW

Jackrabbit Homestead
Adjacent to the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce, 72559 Highway 111, Palm Desert.

VIVIAN SUTER

Tamanrasset
333 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs.

JUDY CHICAGO

Living Smoke
Visit desertx.org and chicagolivingart.org

OSCAR MURILLO

Frequencies
Check desertx.org for exhibition dates and venues.