sierra suvuk

lava, shell, bone and loess-filled found jar on steel. photograph of sierra suvuk and sierra pinacate printed on stainless steel panel

25 cm x 54 cm

sierra suvuk detail - click to enlarge

|this object is not for sale|






El Pinacate

Tucsonans call them stinkbugs. The Spaniards named these black-bodied beetles with the particular habit of bowing their heads in prayer to all who pass — El Pinacate. The O’odham believe Bitokoi to be a sacred messenger of their god, I’itoi, and that their common presence under foot and along the trail is a reminder to us humans to walk carefully and be humble. This mythological character has also lent its Spanish name to the singular landscape of black lava and white sands considered by devout desert rats — from Padre Kino to Ed Abbey — to be the heart and soul of the Sonoran Desert.

The connection between the Sierra Pinacate and Tucson (in O’odham: Schuk Toak and Chukson, respectively) stretches back many thousands of years. These places are linked by trail and by song. And for the last 300 years, they have been linked by science and art.

In 2012, I spent just over 80 days exploring this remote and rugged place. With two dogs, a camera and equal weights of books and water crammed in my pack, I came to appreciate with every step and with every page turned, what it means to call this desert home.

Under their infinite skies, wild places provide the space for us to be human beings. They give us a place and the opportunity to just be – to be present, to feel alive, to be awed, to be connected, to slow down and breathe and feel grateful.

This object was included in my solo exhibition :: chasing julian at the WEE Gallery in Tucson, Arizona, February 2013.

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