Artist Ra Paulette has spent decades hand-carving intricate caves, shrines, and caverns in the sandstone hills near Ojo Caliente, New Mexico.
These larger-than-life works of art — some looming 10 to 13 metres high — are all built by hand with simple tools like pick axes and shovels. While technically subterranean, Paulette creates vertical shafts that lead out of the cave, so that the carvings and caverns are bathed in natural light.
The juxtaposition of being underground while light streams in from the shafts is meant to be “transformational,” Paulette said in an Oscar-nominated documentary about his work, named “Cavedigger.”
Not only does Paulette dig these giant caves, he carves intricate motifs into their soft sandstone, adding a spiritual vibe.
Paulette has dug dozens of these sanctoriums, some of which were open to the public, but have since been closed due to vandalism. Since 2010, Paulette has been working independently on his “magnum opus,” a massive cave-carving project he predicts will take 10 years to complete.
Some of the caves are used for spiritual retreats, meditation, and “sound healing.”
Visitors keen to experience Paulette’s artistry and the spiritual power of the caverns can take guided tours through luxury resort Origin.
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