The Giant Saguaro Cactus, Pillar of our Sonoran Desert Home

The Giant Saguaro Cactus (Carnegia gigantea) (Ha:Sañ : O’odham), 

Pillar of Our Sonoran Desert Home

The Giant Saguaro Cactus, Pillar of Our Sonoran Desert Home,” is an integrated art, science, education, and human-ecology project with a strong element of local community engagement. It includes components of fine art, nature journaling, poetry, field arts video tutorials, in-person classes, and digital phenology, and will culminate with an art show and lecture hosted in the Summer of 2024 (location TBD).

This project is intended to inspire people in our Sonoran Desert community, and beyond, especially those without the adventuring habit, to get outside and intentionally observe nature with curiosity and respect. By helping others connect to place, each in his/her way, I hope to help turn many individual connections into collective, civic action around conserving and restoring our Sonoran Desert’s few remaining, and highly endangered, natural habitats, and the many services they provide to all of us.

This sketch, created during a self-funded, art-residency in Nogales, AZ, in 2021, was the seed of inspiration for this project.

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With a start-up grant ($5k) for a ‘New Work’ from the City of Tucson Arts Foundation, I will be, over the Spring and Summer of 2024, undertaking an integrated art, education, and ecology project with a strong element of community engagement, culminating with an art show and lecture hosted in the Summer of 2024.

This project aims to honor both a century of scientific findings and at least ten thousand years of Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and at my art opening, I will be inviting a botanical science expert from the University of Arizona and a traditional culture keeper from the Tohono O’odham Nation to speak about the scientific and Indigenous understanding of the saguaro, respectively, which in addition to being a keystone species is central to Tohono O’odham cosmology and Himdag, or Way of Life.

The project includes the creation of a large diorama, an epic poem, a series of field-arts tutorial videos posted to Instagram & YouTube, the hosting of a phenology and art class in the field, and the establishment of a new digital nature trail on Nature’s Notebook – a community science platform.

In the famous words of UN poet Baba Dioum, “It is only through deeper understanding that we can come to know the value of nature, and thus what we stand to lose if we neglect to care for her.” I hope you will join me on this adventure to better understand, and thus better manage the Sonoran Desert and its most iconic species.

Thank you for helping me celebrate, together, the joy of caring for, living among, and as a part of, this wonderful habitat that so many of us call home. 

 

The aim of posting current projects is to encourage donations, support, and collaboration, and to find potential buyers for my works of art.

(THIS WORK IS CURRENTLY FOR SALE UNDER COMMISSION)

If you are interested in any or all of the above, please contact me at alanruizberman@gmail.com with inquiries or call me at 520-858-5617.