A Desert X Biennial Art Exhibit installation that purposely portray water insecurity problem in Coachella Valley was refused permission by the city council. Apparently, the natives of the city were offended, as the city stated that the art will exploit the existing problems concerning the arsenic-contaminated groundwater in the easter part of the area.
The city council ruled that the artwork of Ghanaian artist Serge Attukwei Clottey, will be installed in a new location. However, there are no new updates about the new venue that the city council approves as an alternative site for Clottel’s art installation.
Desert X co-curator César Garcia-Alvarez said in an email that they are disappointed with the city council’s decision. They are likewise troubled that the topic was too problematic for the district, since they are suffering the same issues existing in other countries.
Still, Neftali Galarza, a council member, explained that their intention is to discourage appropriation and exploitation of the issue for tourism purposes. As it is, the issue is a sensitive matter to Coachella Valley communities. The city council advised that it would better for Desert X to install Clottey’s artwork in wealthy areas of the Coachella Valley, whether resident are not directly affected by the issue.
About Clottey’s Planned Desert X Exhibit in Coachella
Clottey coined the word “Afrogallonism” to describes his art concept, with thich he recycles yellow gallon containers found everywhere in his native country. He creates artwork with the yellow gallon containers to depict how his people are reusing emptied oil containers to carry water taken from portable wells found in Ghana.
His Desert X art installation consists of two cubes piled up containers measuring up to 9-feet high. In between the stacked containers, are pathway made from cut out plastic containers as way to imply the Yellow Brick Road of the Wizard of Oz. Desert X expressed that the work of art demonstrates an act of worldwide solidarity to warn global communities about the impending worldwide water crisis.