Is land a geographic term that we use to describe the grass, soil, and other components on top of the Earth that isn’t covered with water? In literal terms, yes, but in Chapter three of Mixed Blessings Lucy Lippard describes the term “landing” in a much deeply thought out way. She states that, “the landing process is not always a matter of geographical turf, nor of coming to rest; it can be equally a process of change, of being sent away or of ‘taking off’ on a quest for home that may never be satisfied.” (p.105) Therefore, the author is saying that landing is not only a term to describe something stopping; it is a term in the art world and in many cultures that can represent their lost cultural history, including the land they once called home. For example, the Lippard talks about Native Americans and how landing is “a concept fraught with ambivalence.” (p.105) Many Native Americans have trouble finding their “home lands”, because they live in two places at a time. They go from living on reservations to living back in the cities. Therefore, the Native Americans are forced to reinvent themselves to terms “that history has inserted between their loss and their roots.” (p.106) This reinvention is reflected through many of Native American artworks, including Jean LaMarr’s, They’re Going to Dump It Where?!? LaMarr shows the two sides of a contemporary Paiute woman, having her wear flowers on her shawl to represent the traditional naming of woman after flowers, but also a modern day dress and sunglasses. The background of the monoprint is “dotted with ancient petroglyphs… the prints refer to the destruction of Indian lands and sacred sites in favor of lucrative bud ultimately destructive technology.” (p.107) The destructive technology refers to the reflection on the sunglasses, which is a nuclear power plant on sacred land in California named Diablo Canyon getting struck by lightning.
When I saw this photo and read more about the cultural land the artwork comes from, I wanted to look up more to learn about this artist. I had never heard of LaMarr and really liked how she incorporated her heritage and the lost of her people’s sacred land in her artwork. So, I decided to Google her. Jean Lamarr is a female, Paiute and Pit River artist. As a child, she grew up in a town that was racist and didn’t have much of cultural history incorporated in their activities. I found an interview of Lamarr on www.culturalsurvival.org that stated that her school had her paint “a mural of Sir Francis Drake christening the Indians, the Indians bowing down to him.” This may be one reason why Lamarr’s work focuses on her heritage. She also stated that she likes to do murals and print-making, because these types of art can be seen by communities, giving people insight about the indigenous people that have live on that land for a long period of time and how through their homeland has became destroyed by certain types technology. Lamarr makes her artwork more for the “landing” aspect, showing the change of her cultural people and their homeland.
In chapter three of Mixed Blessings, Lippard also mentions the relationship between land and religions. Many religions have traveled all across the oceans to make many religions international. Lippard states, “even those religious that have been carried across oceans and around the world bear the imprint of their original places- not necessarily in traceable iconography, but in the submerged rhythms and patterns that served the land itself and the sprits that inhabit it.” (p.108) This is can be seen in many religions including Christianity and Islam. These two religions are different, but are religions that have formed in different parts of the world, but can be seen today living on the same land as each other. Each religion and cultural have transformed somewhat over time, with social equalities, but have kept their traditional beliefs within the changing societies. I found it interesting to hear about the challenges and decisions that people within these religions go through to represent their cultural beliefs wherever they live.