/11 Wealth

Zoe Childerley

Land of Milk and Honey

This body of work was made during an artist residency at the Museum of Friends in Huerfano County, Southern Colorado, where the Wahatoyas (breasts of the earth) are the twin peaks that dominate the skyline. They have long been sacred to the Native Americans and held myths of promised lands.

This is a documentary project building a portrait of the county and its communities. It is an area that has attracted many groups over the years looking for a new and more prosperous life. Many came with the promise of work, land and a better life for their families. An ethnically mixed population, mostly of Hispanic, European and Native American descent first came as homesteaders and ranchers then later people were brought from all over the world to work in the coalmines of Walsenburg.

In the 60’s several artist and hippy communes of were founded in the rural part of the county. The counterculture children were attracted by the unspoiled beauty and isolation of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and San Luis valley, and one community, Libre, still survives. The population has dropped dramatically in recent years due to unemployment and recession. It is also the most aging county in the State and has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates. Despite the downturn in fortunes the people who remain are steadfast in their love for their land and still hopeful about its future.