Valises for Camp Ground: Arts, Corrections and Fire Management in the Santa Monica Mountains - Valises 1-10
- Kim Abeles
- Artwork Type
- * (m)
1250 Encinal Canyon Rd, Malibu, CA 90265
- All County
Fire Department to teach about fire prevention, national forests, and our relationship to nature.
Each valise has a theme with specific talking points, and all of them circle back toward teaching
issues about fire abatement and our connection to wilderness.
The female inmates at Camp 13 who have been trained as firefighters supplied the content for
the valises through their experiences with firefighting and fire abatement methods. The
process was organic in the sense that there was a two-way conversation between Abeles as
artist-in-residence and the inmates regarding the development of the valises. The women supplied the content based on their experiences, and also responded to the artistic and content-driven outcomes. Participants worked alongside as well as with the artist on the elements of the valises. Some of the valises respond to discussions with park rangers regarding issues including fire prevention in residential areas especially those adjacent to forests; securing homes from wildlife entering and getting trapped, and conversely, encouraging wildlife through habitats; invasive plants vs native species; and citizen’s responsible use of parks and national forests.
Armory Center held an exhibition features ten small, mixed media travel suitcases (known as "valises") created during a long-term collaboration between artist Kim Abeles and the female inmates of Camp 13—a correctional facility in the Santa Monica Mountains for women who are trained and deployed to fight forest fires throughout the region. The valises will be used as educational tools at public events by the National Park Service and Los Angeles County Fire Department to teach the public about fire prevention, national forests, and our relationship to nature. This project was managed by Armory Center for the Arts and was made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.
About the Artist
Kim Abeles is an artist whose community-based projects explore biography, geography and
environment. She has created projects with the California Science Center, air pollution control
agencies, health clinics and mental health departments, and natural history museums in California,
Colorado and Florida. Abeles received the 2013 Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, and is a recipient of
fellowships from J. Paul Getty Trust Fund for the Visual Arts, California Community Foundation and
Pollack-Krasner Foundation. In 1987, she innovated a method to create images from the smog in the
air, and Smog Collectors brought her work to national and international attention. She is currently
working on sculptural suitcases for Camp Ground: Arts, Corrections and Fire Management in the Santa
Monica Mountains that embeds artists in the Los Angeles County Fire Department to work in
collaboration with the paid and inmate workforces. Her work is in public collections including MOCA