Ra Paulette has a very intimate relationship with the New Mexican mesas into which he carves intricately embellished caves. He does the work entirely on his own, and walks a mile just to reach the destination. The caves are overwhelmingly beautiful, especially when you imagine the process used to make them.
“My final and most ambitious project is both an environmental and social art project that uses solitude and the beauty of the natural world to create an experience that fosters spiritual renewal and personal well being. It is a culmination of everything I have learned and dreamed of in creating caves.”
Paulette is concerned with social change. He tries to stir deep emotions to instigate that change instead of forcing it through direct confrontation.
“How can we change what we do before we change how we feel?” Its underlying premise is that when through wonder and the sense of beauty we move from the emotional realm of our desires and fears to the more expansive and deeper feelings of thanksgiving and appreciation of life with a sense of its sacredness, our actions will automatically be modified, creating a better world – ‘like magic’.
This is the magic of art, music, theatre, and of the beauty of the natural world. We need for that magic to play a more direct role in our lives.”
He also speaks about his relationship to his process.
“Manual labour is the foundation of my self-expression. To do it well, to do it beautifully… engaging mental and emotional strengths as well as physical strength… Like a dancer, I ‘feel’ the body and it’s movements in a conscious way. I’m fond of calling it ‘the dance of digging’, and it’s the secret of how this old man can get so much done.”