Local Warriors

A large-scale installation created for the
Nevada Museum of Art Retrospective
opening August 2023

A sculptural army of local warriors, this installation pays homage to the immigrants who have kept our systems working and our people healthy during the Covid pandemic. In reference to China’s TerraCotta Warriors unearthed after 2000 years of underground internment, Bert’s Army of local warriors explores the endurance of immigrants, those who have labored in person, who have not had the privilege of working virtually during the Covid pandemic. This army of warriors will give focus to those who are too often unseen, but right in front of us, those who pick produce, clean houses and hospitals, work in construction, garden, staff nursing homes.

While the TerraCotta Warriors were crafted from clay, these modern Warriors will be created using current technology. The process of creating each Warrior is complex and high tech, hands-on and low tech. Each sculpture begins with a 3D scan of a local immigrant, using a high-end scanner to capture the topography of each person. Architectural software then maps the model and creates 650 wooden layers to construct each sculpture.

Bert is working with the idea of combining 3D models of classical European sculptures with African masks and Latino iconography, of exploring gender identity using an Italian Madonna with a Chak moll head or an African Mask. Rooted in Bert’s own personal immigration story, the primary focus of his work has been to share the experiences of people and families who enter the United States along the United States—Mexico border. His work draws metaphorical relationships between the daily lives of local immigrants and the commodication and objectication of American values. He employs technology to address the ways in which colonization and capitalist systems contribute to cultural displacement and the obfuscation of Indigenous identities, traditions, and religions. By intersecting old and new technology, Bert recognizes that we live in a world where the ancient and the new live in the same time zone, and the perception of reality should have a more holistic approach to avoid false interpretations. This lack of an integrated historical, anthropological, and psychological perspective is at the core of some of the most pressing social issues we face today.


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Do you know Essential Workers who supported us all through Covid? 
Latinx immigrants to contributions of Latino community.

• Nurses • Teachers • Field Workers • Firefighters • Delivery People • Food Services •