RANCHO MIRAGE, CA – Agua Caliente Casinos recently announced the completion of a custom commissioned mural located at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage, CA, by renowned Native American artist Gerald Clarke, a member of the Cahuilla Band of Indians.
Clarke began the installation on Monday, March 28th and painted the mural over the course of three days. The thought-provoking piece is located in a highly trafficked area at the resort/casino property, along the walkway leading towards the pool complex, adjacent to Agua Caliente’s signature restaurant, The Steakhouse. Clarke, a professor of ethnic studies at the University of California-Riverside and recently appointed California Arts Council member, was assisted on this project by his daughter, Lily Clarke. Guests and passersby could observe his creative process live.
“Gerald is a well-respected artist here in Southern California and beyond,” said Tribal Chairman Reid D. Milanovich. “This is very meaningful art inspired by our Cahuilla heritage, and it’s an honor to now be able to share Gerald’s indigenous expression with our guests.”
The mural, Cahuilla Realms, represents Cahuilla heritage including indigenous plants, basketry with references to spiritual beliefs, ceremonies, and native landscapes. It features the iconic mountainous background of the Coachella Valley, accented by an orange vertical design reflective of ancient petroglyphs. The forefront is an illuminated eye-catching yucca plant, native to the area, tended to by a hummingbird beneath a circular display of wooden Cahuilla musical instruments.
“This mural was created in layers,” described Clarke. “The foundational layer is the painted backdrop of the landscape. The Cahuilla world begins with the land and our relationship to it. The next layer is represented in our tribal history represented by the diamond pattern on the left side of the mural. The diamond pattern is representative of the numerous petroglyphs that were painted or carved onto the rocks of the surrounding mountain ranges. The sculptural elements represent the importance of the plant and animal world to the Cahuilla people’s beliefs, and the configuration of bird singing rattles represent our traditional cultural practices.”
This original mural occupies the 89 x 144-inch wall space in its entirety. It was handcrafted using wood and paint.