Art aficionados from around the world are descending on Desert Hot Springs as Desert X returns for the biennial exhibition. The City of Desert Hot Springs is proud to play host to one of the major works, “What Lies Behind the Walls,” by Zahrah Alghamdi.
What Is It?
“What Lies Behind the Walls” is a massive sculpture composed of stacked forms suffused with cements, soils, dyes, leather, and other media from the Southwestern region of Saudi Arabia and the Coachella Valley.
What Does It Mean?
According to Desert X, “For Zahrah Alghamdi, material and memory are inextricably intertwined. Many of her works involve large accumulations of material that seemingly layer the histories and cultures of the places from which they come.”
Born in Saudi Arabia, Alghamdi noticed similarities between the Middle East California desert landscapes when she first visited the Coachella Valley.
This piece “echoes and synthesizes the traditionally built forms from her country with the architectural organization she found in the Coachella Valley,” Desert X explains.
This synthesis of materials and methods drawn from each culture is meant to embody and translate “themes of cultural identity, memory, and loss,”
“It expresses a highly individualized language corresponding to feelings, emotions, and memories associated with place and time,” Desert X says.
How to Visit
“What Lies Behind the Walls” is located on Pierson Boulevard between Foxdale Drive and Tamar Drive, in Desert Hot Springs. There is a large parking lot off of Pierson, which is open from sunrise to sunset. Please note that reaching the sculpture requires walking approximately one quarter mile on rocky and sandy desert terrain.
For more information, visit www.desertx.org.