Exhibition Opening: Tue 4, Dec, 6pm–9pm
Art Basel Artist Studio Visit: Thu 6, Dec, 9am–12pm
Extended hours during Art Basel: Daily 9am–7pm, Sat – Sun 9am–5pm and by appointment
Regular Visiting Hours: Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri 11am–6pm
As a lifetime nature lover, Debra Holt is particularly drawn to the rugged beauty of the wilderness. As a world traveler and photographer, she has a passion for exploring lesser-known cultures, and capturing their humanity and unique spirit. Holt’s recent travels led her to the Middle East, where she was captivated by both the vast desert landscape, and the people who call it home.
Across the dry, dusty wilderness of the Arabian Desert, nomadic travelers still journey. Robed figures, camels, and tents still create silhouettes against the vast desert sky, as they have for thousands of years. Yes, some things have changed. Shifting concepts of property ownership have prompted many nomads to trade endless grazing treks for settled farms, cave dwellings, and shanties. Some have traded camels for trucks, and traditional garb for flannel and jeans.
But for now, we can still peek into the distant past. We can connect in the present to an ancient way of life—one that is far from our comparatively effortless existence and reflects the fundamental human battle to survive and thrive in a hostile and unforgiving landscape. Everywhere you turn, an endless sea of sand and stone greets the eye. The expanse is punctuated by looming towers of immutable rock, worn by time into beautiful abstract shapes.
The realities of desert life are as etched on the people as it is on the terrain. Solemn children greet visitors with a piercing, knowing gaze. Elders smile ever-so-faintly, their expressive eyes tucked into deeply-lined, weather-worn faces. Rich textiles adorn heads and add color and life to muted stone cave walls.
With this collection, Holt sought to capture the humanity, beauty, and incredible resilience of these unique people. She is fascinated by everything about these tribes, especially the way they adapt to their environment, using sparse natural resources to sustain themselves and care for their livestock. But beyond that, she sought to create a window into a timeless world, where man and nature exist in a precarious balance, and the past and the present meld together like the desert horizon.
About Debra Holt
A native South Florida artist, she was born in West Palm Beach and raised in Miami. She works in the Wynwood Art District located in Miami. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Florida International University and a Masters of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute, New York. Holt is a multidisciplinary artist, with artwork that includes photography, installation, painting, video and sculptures. With various disciplines, she applies freedom of expression to create art without boundaries that explore concepts with the flexibility of media and content.
Debra Holt has participated in gallery and museum shows and has exhibited her work in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Mexico. The curators of Photo Miami 2009 selected Debra Holt, along with noted artists Kalup Linzy, Zefrey Throwell, and Carrie Mae Weems, as featured artist for Special Projects during Art Basel Miami. Debra Holt presented a large-scale video installation “Living Water” for Special Projects along with a solo exhibition of recent photography. Holt’s solo “Pulse of Nature” was presented at Photo LA 2011, and she has been included in other art fairs including Scope NY, Scope Miami and Next Art Fair in Chicago. In 2012, the curators at Scope Miami selected Holt as featured artist with a solo installation, “An Unborn Child Leaves a Shadow on the Soul”.
- Debra Holt, “Portrait 3929”, 2018