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Desert X 2021: 2 Arab artists in the Californian desert

The 2021 edition of the contemporary art festival Desert X is currently taking place in California, in the desert of the Coachella Valley, a return to its original territory for the festival that had been exported to Saudi Arabia during its previous edition.

Remember, it was at the beginning of last year. For the Winter at Tantora festival, Desert X was invited in the AlUla valley in Saudi Arabia, and our teams had told you about it in our travel log.

This time, it’s the Coachella Valley, in California, which welcomes back, since March 12, Desert X and its huge installations that decorate the desert, sometimes to sublimate it in a very natural way, sometimes in a way that is completely different from its environment, as in the case of installations with very flashy colors.

And this 2021 edition, the thirteenth in total, is, like the previous one, the beautiful part to artists from the Arab world, twice represented in the shortlist of the lucky ones. Indeed, Saudi artist Zahrah Al-Ghamdi presents her installation “What Lies Behind the Walls”, a larger-than-life sculptural wall composed of 6,000 tiles containing cement and soil that are stacked to form striking patterns.

 

Women in the spotlight

The other artist who will also present her works during this two-month art event is none other than the Egyptian Ghada Amer.

Two female artists, but that’s not all. The installation “Women’s Qualities” by the New York-based artist consists of words such as “Resilient”, “Loving” and “Strong” spelled out in large letter-shaped planters containing desert plants. A strong feminist message meant to honor women around the world. For this installation, Amer asked various communities of men and women to share words describing the qualities with which they identify women, and brought the most represented responses to life.

While in these Covid-19 times, it probably won’t be possible for us to go there to marvel at both the beauty of the art and the vastness of the desert, it is possible to follow the event online, including on social media with the hashtag #DesertX.