Oil Boom

Cara Romero, Chemehuevi / American, born 1977
Great Basin


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Archival pigment print

AP 1/3

Image: 40 3/16 × 39 5/8 in. (102 × 100.6 cm)

Sheet: 44 3/16 × 44 1/8 in. (112.2 × 112 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Sondra and Charles Gilman, Jr. Foundation Fund

© Cara Romero. All Rights Reserved.



Place Made: United States, North America

Object Name


Research Area

Native American

Native American: Great Basin


Not on view


Signed, lower right, in black ink: Cara Romero; numbered, lower left, in black ink: AP 1/3; inscribed, lower center, in black ink: "OIL BOOM"


The central figure in Cara Romero’s Oil Boom floats with arms outstretched, suspended in a sea of oil as if unexpectedly dropped into and tasked with navigating this environment. The sepia color of the underwater photograph thickens its appearance. On the horizon above, a horde of pumpjacks form a dystopian landscape. Oil Boom is a part of a larger series of underwater photographs, Water Memories, that explore water’s capacity to hold memory, trauma, and life. Romero writes: "Water Memories are photography dreamscapes dealing with Native American relationships to water, the forces of man and of Mother Nature. They are individual explorations of space, memory, and diverse Indigenous narratives that are both terrifying and peaceful."

From the 2022 exhibition This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World, curated by Jami C. Powell, Curator of Indigenous Art; Barbara J. MacAdam, former Jonathan L. Cohen Curator of American Art; Thomas H. Price, former Curatorial Assistant; Morgan E. Freeman, former DAMLI Native American Art Fellow; and Michael Hartman, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art

Course History

NAS 30.21, Native American Art and Material, Jami Powell, Spring 2020

NAS 30.21, Native American Art and Material, Jami Powell, Spring 2020

NAS 30.21, Native American Art and Material, Jami Powell, Spring 2020

Exhibition History

This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World, Luise and Morton Kaish Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 5–April 19, 2022.


The artist, Cara Romeo Photography, Santa Fe, New Mexico; sold to the present collection, 2019.

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