The Drying West

Alejandra Abad
Jan 6 - Jan 29, 2023

As the West dries, the water shortage impacts people, ecosystems, and wildlife alike, both in Colorado and in other neighboring states. As reservoirs shrink, rivers are diverted to deliver water away from farmland to major cities. Climate change is here and during this epoch, my hope is to engage the public with this ongoing discourse and to reimagine how to utilize water ways - especially since the future of biodiversity and our way of life is threatened by over-construction.

The issue also comes with an intersection between environmental and social justice, since we should center Indigenous peoples voice in these decisions regarding water discourse and land acknowledgement. This site-specific installation calls our attention to the water supply and how the continuation of economic growth at the cost of the environment cannot be sustained. In 2050 we will face a moment of revelation as the temperatures will not slow down. If we do not actively try to advocate for immediate changes, then these water shortages will become permanent.

This installation includes hand-made drawings and laser-cut maps, and experimentation with light. The work was created at the CU Denver Inworks workspace, and most of the materials have been repurposed and will continue to be recycled. A big thanks to all the lab monitors and to Understudy.


Artist Bio:

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Alejandra Abad is an interdisciplinary visual artist and educator who explores belonging and mutual compassion as key parts of collective wellness. Through layering, abstraction, and light, she creates new landscapes that relate to place, family, and community. Her style is informed by architectural studies at Florida Atlantic University, Film / Video / New Media / Animation at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Integrated Media Art Practices at The University of Colorado. She uses analog and digital processes, including sculptural elements and the projection of the moving images. Her work connects the histories of anti-colonial movements, international surrealism, magical realism to her own experiences in new spaces.

Alejandra has created various pieces that relate to water, including Bodies of Water, installed at Museo de las Américas, and Poli Mito, which received a grant from First Generation Film (Knight Foundation & Time Warner) and was screened at Borscht Film Festival, the Lyric Cinema in 2019, and Shikata Ga Nai in 2020; she was commissioned to create her piece BIOME vs BORDERS, a site-specific art piece at Union Hall, which focused on the proximity of Union Hall to one of the most polluted zip codes in the North Denver area, Globeville. “Un País Olvidado: Reliquias de Vigencia — Forgotten Country: Relics of Agency,” was exhibited at The University of Colorado Art Museum and Arbor Institute. She was also a featured artist at the Denver Art Museum for their Untitled event where she united BIPOC creatives in the Denver metro area.


Public hours:

This exhibition is intended to be viewed from the exterior of the gallery, so there will be no regular open gallery hours held.

If you are interested in setting up a private visit by appointment, please contact

Closing Celebration Saturday, January 28th, 6:00pm - 9:00pm


Understudy is free-to-visit and open to all. We are located at the Colorado Convention Center / Theatre District light rail stop near 14th and Stout. Look for the Shantell Martin art bench.

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