The first in a set of valises for Camp Ground: Arts, Corrections and Fire Management in the Santa Monica Mountains is now on view at the exhibit, "Kim Abeles: ˌterə ˈfɜːmə" at Orange Coast College's Doyle Arts Pavilion.
The mixed media valises will be used by the National Park Service and County Fire Department to teach about fire prevention, national forests, and our relationship to nature. I'm welding the substructures to create shapes like pine tree logs, a chain saw, and other fire fighting tools. The inmates at Camp 13 are brave firefighters, and they are helping me to develop the content for the sculptural suitcases. Some of the women are working with me to assemble them and create parts, while others are working side by side on their own projects while I interview them about fire abatement and their experiences fighting the fires in California.
This is a long term project funded through the National Endowment for the Arts, LA County Arts Commission, administered by the Armory Center for the Arts, and facilitated by the National Park Service, Department of Corrections, and the County Fire Department.