a look inside ra paulette's hand dug luminous caves in new mexico
a look inside ra paulette's hand dug luminous caves in new mexico a look inside ra paulette's hand dug luminous caves in new mexico
nov 24, 2014

a look inside ra paulette's hand dug luminous caves in new mexico

a look inside ra paulette’s hand dug luminous caves in new mexico
image courtesy karoff films




wielding a wheelbarrow-backpack, american artist ra paulette hikes a mile into the sandstone mesas of northern new mexico. for over ten years, ra has traveled alone to his luminous caves, chipping scraping and digging away into the mountainsides carving out wondrous light-filled caverns. each pile of dirt was intentionally dug and personally discarded by ra, as the concepts of the luminous caves delves even deeper than the sheer wonder of one person creating a masterpiece of this scale, alone, every day for over ten years.

image courtesy ra paulette




paulette was always struck by the relationship between humans, nature, and the inner soul. a solitary walk through a forest is more than a casual stroll, it becomes an introspective pilgrimage. when complete, the caves are meant to provide surreal transformative environments for this exact purpose- they are designed to foster ‘spiritual renewal and personal well being‘. illuminated only by light tunnels in the ceilings, each chamber possesses its own unique qualities. although the designs cannot really be likened to any one specific style, each space exhibits a mastery of textures brought to life by light, each creating their own feeling. when complete, the caves will become a venue for artistic events and personal discovery. by combining a sense of wonder, beauty, and the sacred, paulette attempts to change our actions as a society to help bring about change.

rooms are illuminated by light tunnels
image courtesy karoff films



a palette of textures forms each chamber
image courtesy ra paulette



ra personally scraping and chipping away at the sandstone walls
image courtesy ra paulette



image courtesy karoff films



image courtesy karoff films



image courtesy karoff films



image courtesy karoff films



image courtesy karoff films



light tunnel
image courtesy ra paulette



image courtesy ra paulette



image courtesy ra paulette



image courtesy karoff films



image courtesy karoff films



image courtesy karoff films



image courtesy ra paulette



ra hard at work
image courtesy ra paulette



entrance to the caves
image courtesy ra paulette



transporting dirt by hand
image courtesy karoff films



image courtesy ra paulette

  • very nice work. appreciated.

    flavio martins says:
  • an unbelievable project. great commitment and love of project on the part of mr. paulette. incredible.

    terri gillis says:
  • wow, what an amazing creation, one of the best things i have seen on designboom, thanks for sharing

    carl says:
  • Zowie! astounding wordless (sort of) here. Interesting that there are no comments here. Absolutely incredible, absolutely. Infinite mind dreams.

    Lightmaker says:
  • stunning, love it!

    sworddesign says:
  • a graphic permanent mark in nature…

    nina says:
  • What a beautiful expression of love and respect for mother Gaia. The Sistine Chapels of Northern New Mexico. Thank you so much for sharing it.

    Mauro Filicori says:
  • There is a video available on this amazing work. The Cave digger.. worth tracking jet to hear his ideas and why he does it.. a wonderful fellow.

    Nalda Searles says:
  • The state of New Mexico should purchase on of the sites for public viewing and heritage.

    Berit Naeseth says:
  • Does anyone know if his latest project is finished yet and available for public viewing?

    Ron Castle says:
  • Thank you for sharing your talent.
    While we would like to actually access these caves,- With people viewing inside, wouldn’t the temperature and environment would change and over time and possible destroy this work?

    Patricia D. King says:
  • can you please tell me which cave can be visited?

    maria magan says:
  • Amazing work ! inspiring, Ra Paulette has contributed an invaluable work to the country and the world with an amazing message! I saw the documentary ..I do not believe that such an Art can ever be rewarded with money and the people he worked for should have at least given him total freedom and not interfere with his creation what they have is a magnificent gift and to think that the meager salary they gave to Mr Paulette gave then the right to their input made me cringe , they had no concept of what was given to them. thank you Mr Paulette for your generosity, and the joy and peace that you bring !

    Christine Landrum de Lima says:

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