Did you know that Pasadena City College (PCC) has its own Art Gallery, located in the School of Visual, Media & Performing Arts building?
Furthermore, did you know that all exhibits that are presented there are free and open to the public? As a current PCC student, I just became aware of this last week!
An interesting billboard drew my attention to this exhibition. Intrigued, I visited to see the current exhibition from Artist in Residence, Sant Khalsa, “Confluence”.
In “Confluence” at PCC, Khalsa focuses on water and its role in life. Her photographs and installations bring together human concerns and activism from an ecological, natural, political and spiritual perspective.
The artist, Sant Khalsa, is local to Southern California and is currently a Professor of Art, Emeritus at California State University, San Bernardino. The program for the”Confluence” exhibit says about Khalsa, “She has received numerous awards, including the Society of Photographic Education Insight Award for her contributions to the field of photography.” and that,“Her work has been widely shown internationally in over 150 exhibitions, and has been acquired by museum collections, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.”
The following photographs are from the “Western Waters” portion of the exhibit, and address the “… commodification of nature, and specifically water – as a consumer product, and human desire – a never-ending thirst.”
“Pray for Rain” (Prayer Wheel) is inspired by the Tibetan Prayer Wheel. Floating in the water section of the cylinder glass are twenty-eight corked messages, words associated with water such as, “snow”, “ice”, “drop”, “cloud” and “flow”. The whole piece is motorized to continuously turn clockwise. This is inspired by the Buddhist believe that each rotation of a prayer wheel is equal to a recitation of a prayer.
“Trees and Seedlings” was my favorite part of the exhibit. At once seeming like planks of wood leaning against the wall, a reward is given for closer observation!
Through the glass, a transparent photograph is projected onto the wall. Images of burnt trees and forests are peeking out from behind the wooden planks.
After a closer and more thoughtful look, what will the influence of the art be?
Next comes the “Paving Paradise” section of the exhibit. The Santa Ana River in Southern California is 96 miles long, and has been one focus of Khalsa’s work since she moved to the region in 1975.
“In Our Hands” (Solution): What is our responsibility towards water? For ourselves? Our family? Our planet? Where does thought meet action in this exhibit?
I was left hoping that the containers of creativity and inspiration will be refilled, and that those who drink from them will be led to shared solutions in regard to the life-sustaining, thirst-satisfying and human-leveling need for water.