A rocky desert landscape with a small wooden cabin seen in the middle ground.

Mystery Ranch (2022). Photo by Mikayla Whitmore.

A line of hikers walk through the desert towards a group of mountains in the distance.

Artists in Spirit of the Land took tours of the area around Spirit Mountain in order to gain inspiration for their works. Photo by Aaron Mayes, 2021.

Feb. 23, 2022
Spirit of the Land
Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art, University of Nevada Las Vegas
Exhibition Dates: March 25 - July 23, 2022
Opening Reception: March 25, 2022, 5-8pm, remarks: 6:30pm
The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art is proud to present Spirit of the Land, a love letter to the plants, animals, geology, history, and people of the East Mojave landscape at the southernmost tip of Nevada.
The exhibition features work by more than forty artists and musicians who have chosen to celebrate the country around Spirit Mountain, the highest peak in the Spirit Mountain Wilderness. Known in the Mojave language as Avi Kwa Ame, the mountain is considered sacred by ten Yuman-speaking tribes as well as the Hopi and Chemehuevi Paiute.

Spirit of the Land reflects on the continuing spiritual importance of this revered wilderness area and the past and future of nearby rural communities such as Searchlight, Nelson, Cal-Nev-Ari, and Ft. Mojave, all of which are searching for pathways that will carry them forward into a sustainable future. Through painting, photography, sculpture, video, and more, the exhibition offers visitors glimpses of the complex beauty of this unique desert terrain.

The exhibition also gives viewers an opportunity to investigate the current land issues of this region, such as the long-term strengths of landscape tourism, the threats posed to threatened species and local economies by large-scale industrial proposals, and local and national efforts to turn 450,000 acres of the region into a permanently protected public area, the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument.

“One of the misconceptions we are hoping to address with this exhibition is the idea that the desert is a wasteland, and therefore a place to be exploited as we wish,” says Spirit co-curator Kim Garrison Means. “The Avi Kwa Ame landscape contains the most amazing treasures for the senses and the soul – and our actions, whether of care or neglect, most definitely have an impact on its future, and the futures of all who dwell there or who enjoy visiting the area.”

Curated by Means, Checko Salgado, and Mikayla Whitmore, the exhibition will encompass artists from tribes in the Avi Kwa Ame area, artists from regional communities, artists from Las Vegas, and national artists who are familiar with the East Mojave landscape. Spirit of the Land will also include a postcard-writing station where visitors can help to build awareness of this region and the current proposal to protect the environment around the sacred mountain. The exhibition at the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art is partnering with satellite exhibitions of the postcard artworks at the Searchlight Community Center (March 25 - July 23, 2022) and the Laughlin Library (April 10 to June 25, 2022). You can find more information about these exhibitions at spiritoftheland.org

Spirit of the Land includes work by Fred Bell, Adriana Chavez, Griffin Collins & Courtney Lewis, Jym Davis, Sam Davis, Natalie Delgado, Fawn Douglas, Justin Favela, the Fort Mojave Beaders Association, Nancy Good, Bertha Gutierrez, Mike Hill, Paul Jackson, Paula Jacoby-Garrett, Julian Kilker, Kyle Larson, Douglas McCulloh, Leland Means, Quindo Miller, Chelsea Mosher, Alan O’Neill, Naida Osline, Christopher Reitmaier, Sofie Restrepo, Checko Salgado, Sharon Schaefer, Keri Miki-Lani Schroeder, Sierra Slentz, Lance L. Smith, United Catalysts, Maria Volborth, Mikayla Whitmore, and more. The exhibition runs from March 25 - July 23, 2022. Entry to the museum is free. 

Support for this exhibition is provided by Nevada Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Nevada Conservation League, Clark County Parks and Recreation, the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, the Wilderness Society, the Searchlight Betterment Organization, the Conservation Lands Foundation, and the Las Vegas Special Projects Native Plant Nursery.