[WE ARE HERE Festival] Communal Sand-Painting with Bert Benally

Presented in partnership with the WE ARE HERE Festival

Join WE ARE HERE exhibiting artist Bert Benally for a communal sand-painting project in the Abrons Amphitheater. Benally will lead a discussion followed by a collective design process. The final work will live outdoors in the Abrons amphitheater for the reminder of the WE ARE HERE exhibition, or until the elements move it!


Bert Benally is a Diné artist from the Navajo Nation now living in New York City, where he is a doctoral student at Columbia University. Benally recently collaborated with Chinese dissident artist, Ai Weiwei, on an artwork titled Pull of the Moon. It is a collaboration for Navajo TIME (Temporary Installations Made for the Environment) and is located deep in the desert of the Southwest, amidst the dramatic scenery of Coyote Canyon. “Harmony” is at the foundation of the Diné philosophy of life and plays a central role in all of Mr Benally’s work.

WE ARE HERE is three-day arts festival exploring Indigenous past, present and future, curated by Abrons Arts Center 2019 AIRspace Curatorial Resident Aru Apaza. The festival will include work by Indigenous visual artists, filmmakers and musicians who utilize their own technologies, ancestral knowledge, and survival tactics to reflect on what it means to live a “balanced” life during the “unbalanced” times of late stage capitalism.


WE ARE HERE is made possible by the New York Women’s Foundation, American Indian Community House, Abrons Arts Center and the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance Leadership Fellowship.

The 2019-2020 Season at Abrons Arts Center is supported, in part, by generous grants from the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Harkness Foundation for Dance, the Jerome Foundation, the Scherman Foundation, and other generous Henry Street Settlement funders. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and support from the New York State Council on the arts with the support of Govenor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Image: Paseo Project