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Contradictions – Bringing The Past Forward
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 6, 2021, 2-5pm, Artist Talk at 3pm PDT in person and on Zoom | Watch the Artist Talk here.
On view until November 14th:
Saturday 13th 1-5pm, Sunday 14th 1-4pm and by appointment
BoxoPROJECTS  62732 Sullivan Road Joshua Tree, CA 92252

Contradictions – Bringing The Past Forward is a research-based multimedia arts and humanities project consisting of mixed media installation works developed by contemporary artist Barbara Gothard. The project documents, visually interprets and honors the legacy of African American Homesteaders in the Mojave Desert.

While searching for information on a different topic, Barbara discovered a Daily Bulletin article by Joe Blackstock about African American Homesteaders which included an ad from the 1910 Los Angeles Herald. In response to this 1910 newspaper ad specifically recruiting “colored” homesteaders, 23 families became western settlers in far eastern San Bernardino County. This article became the impetus for Barbara’s project, Contradictions – Bringing The Past Forward. Barbara is creating mixed media artworks to share the story of these African American homesteaders with the community, contrasting their plight in the context of her own lived experience as an African American female artist living in the desert. The project works through a framework of change and continuity, diversity, cause and effect, interconnectedness, community, identity, and belonging in the context of social, political, economic, cultural, and environmental factors prevalent in the early 20th century in the United States. Barbara’s work explores themes of hope, disillusionment, and strong family bonds based on archival research and interviews.

The artworks inform a series of artist talks and community discussion hosted by public/nonprofit organizations and on social media. Contradictions – Bringing The Past Forward will be presented at the San Bernardino County Museum in January 2022. 

For more information about these African American Homesteaders contact Barbara at gothardfineart@me.com and see: 
The untold story: African-American homesteaders once farmed the Mojave Desert
African-Americans Shaping the California Desert: Homesteading in the Mojave
Mojave National Preserve: Black Homesteaders in Lanfair Valley

Covid Protocols: Exhibition and artist talk will be held in and around the BoxoPROJECTS studio which features a large wall opening to the outside. At times, we may control the number of people in the studio. Please wear a mask, even when in the outdoor area, and observe social distancing. Water and iced tea will be available in individual servings. No alcohol or food will be provided.

About the Artist:
From modest Illinois roots, Barbara aspires to tap into her creative potential with a contemporary art form known for exploring the subconscious mind.  She lives, works and is influenced by the ever-changing colors and majesty of the desert in the Palm Springs/Mojave Desert area. The desert is a soft malleable and metamorphic environment surrounded by majestic mountains awash in brilliant colors.  Barbara’s artworks are symbolically autobiographical and are exhibited locally, nationally and internationally.  Her non-traditional career path zigzagged from education to global corporate leader to her art. Her artwork continuum evolves from traditional art education, Bachelor’s Mount Mary University, Master’s Long Island University, Ph.D. Michigan State University, and her historical influencers: Hieronymus Bosch, Georgia O’Keefe, Gustav Klimt and Rene Magritte.

Community service is an integral part of Barbara’s life. She is currently an Emeritus Member of the Artists Council, having previously served as President and is an art magazine writer and contributor.

Artist website:  https://www.barbaragothard.com

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org

This activity is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov