Awake in the Desert Land

Sofia Aldinio

2021 - Ongoing

As I walk around in the dark, I wonder if we are at the end of an era - or are we already shifting to another level of connection with the land? The dryness of the terrain makes me wonder. As I make my way inland, in Baja California, Mexico, I find small communities at the verge of disappearing - leaving their land and resources behind and other families struggling to shift the abundance within the fertility of the land. For moments I felt the immediate connection to nature as part of a cultural heritage yet I was taken by the uncertainty of their days. As these communities evolve so too does their relationship with the land leave me to question if there is a choice in the matter, or if the shift is being created by a cascade of unseen consequences that brought them where they are.

Small rural communities in Baja California, Mexico rely on water wells, fish, farm animals and the desert land around them. With climate change driving change, low-income and rural communities often find themselves on the front line of change hit with the most abrupt impact. In some areas the shortage of reliable resources has created an atmosphere of uncertainty and hope for what is to come.

Awake in the Desert Land was born as a need to connect with the values of rural communities in Baja California and their connection with the land inviting the viewer to not judge but to feel the fragile relationships between the land and the people living in the area, while they depend daily on the resources around them. While I continue to live in Mexico I intend to keep working on the project for the next year, intending to create a dialogue on how we relate to our surroundings or we coexist.

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  • An angel statue sits on a cemetery just outside San Jose de Gracia, a town with a population of 12 people. The town lost most of its population the past 20 years, forcing the school and all the town services to close. January 2021.

  • Ramon Alvarez, sits with her one year old daughter. He has a small animal farm, where he sells and buys animals as a living. December 2020.

  • An empty fish net lays on the beach. January 2021.

  • Juana Rojas, chases her goats into a contained space. Her place burned down 4 years ago and they still haven’t been able to rebuild. December 2020.

  • A kid swims in the water next to his house.The family relly on this source of water for drinking and feeding the animals. The rain has been little to nothing in the past three years. December 2020.

  • Chuy Rojas holds a piece of guaco. A native plant that grows in the hills of the desert in Baja California. They have been relying on this herb during Covid times. December 2020.

  • A guise is contained in a lobster trap at a Mexican’s house. January 2021.

  • A man forcing a cow, for morning milking. January 2021.

  • A piece of land it’s fenced, to grow food, at a small farm in Baja California, Mexico. December 2020.

  • A woman stands outside her home, where her mother gave birth to her. Her community still relies on solar power, water from the area and the food around them. She travels to the coast for fish, but she claims that fishing is not how it used to be. January 2021.

  • Lidia cooks outside her house, in her ranch, for her granddaughter birthday’s party. Both the meal and the way she prepares it maintains the rancho traditional style. February 2021.

  • Joan stands outside his neighbor's house at night. Water accumulates after a rainstorm. The last big storm came about 3 years ago, people say. January 2021.

  • Three frames hanging on the wall of an empty room in Baja California. January 2021.
    February 2021.

  • A portrait of Miguel, in the land where he was born and still lives. A small community in the central valley of Baja California. People keep leaving the village, in search of opportunities and access to the internet, he says. January 2021.