Cast From Sand; Bible Land I (destroyed)

by Pasadena Adjacent

It is our honor to have the cooperation of Mr V on this installment

Long ago (11/03 /78 – 11/26/78 ) in a era of self actualization, between 8.Track and cassette, Mr V had a dream. He proposed walking 130 miles from the Pacific Ocean in Venice California to the top of Palm Springs adjacent Mount San Jacinto. He reasoned that the experience could be documented through photography and recorded observation. OCMA agreed to show it, Mr Lear agreed to fund it and the Getty (decades later) agreed to put it online. Introducing “Victor Henderson Takes a Walk”  The above photo was used as the cassette’s cover image.

What Mr V didn’t realize was that he was documenting a landscape in transition. The “lurking desert underneath whose roots can not be disguised” was to find itself further covered with housing tracks, outlet malls, and a conspicuous gambling resort. Never the less, after having made enemies of Montebello and Pico Rivera, Mr V still managed to engage in a few dubious friendships along the way (Fontana).

After trudging 75 miles over spartan terrain; Mr V was met with a sign

Much “like the grains of sand through the hour glass” what was lost in time, given the mad rush of desert development was sand artist Ted.Conibear’s “itinerant Jesus Show”

Ted Conibear, the most prominent sand artist of all time, upon his 1994 death left behind his final creation “Bible Land II” resting on the side of the road off Interstate 10. Considered a multi media sculptor; Mr Conibear, early in his Detroit based career, worked with mutton tallow, wax and papier-mache. When not providing the entertainment for charitable organizations, he would use the refrigeration units aquired while employed by differing state fairs, allowing him to sculpt with ice and unsalted butter.

Ted moved westward spreading his sand art far and wide (most notably in Arizon and California). His specialty being “The Last Supper” of which he had sculpted 10 versions. The above photo is of Jesus at Gethsemane. Part of an earlier 1957 version of Bible Land located near Temecula (destroyed).

“Suffer the Little Children (including Mr V) to Come Unto Me”  Mark 10:13-16

Interstate  adjacent “Bible Land II” had narrative dioramas set up within the niches provided by a row of four concrete caves. Look closley and you can see the beginnings of the cave in the upper right hand corner of the above image.

After Ted Conibear’s 1994 death the question arose as to who would keep Yucaipa’s Bibleland afloat. The evangelical community unaccustomed to supporting the arts, failed at organizing a solid plan of action. The story goes that Ted Conibear on his death bed expressed a wish that rather then seeing “Bible Land II” fall prey to vandalism, he had asked his son to destroy the work instead. Contradicting this claim is Danial Carpenter who from 1987 to 1994 along with his mother and sister lived with Ted Conibear helping him take care of the land and statues.

“I’ve always wanted the world to know that this man had dreams of keeping his work alive, he taught me how to make the statues using only sand, water, and a spoon!!! His son DON Conibear was the athiest who ordered all the statues demo’d. and handed the land over to South Mountain Water company of Redlands, but for those of use who knew Ted and shared in his life’s work we will remember him forever!”

The End

Our Editor Retracts: Ted Conibear’s son Donald L Conibear explains Bible Land’s demise (the 8/23/11 comment on this thread)

“I am Don Conibear, son of Ted Conibear the creator of Bibleland. There is a lot of mis-information in the above comments. First, I am not an athiest. At the time of Dad’s passing his work had grossly deteriorated due to wind erosion, insects and the fact that dad had not been able to properly maintain the statues for several years. We, the family agnoized over the disposition of Dad’s work. Efforts were made to organize an enity to maintain and preserve his Bibleland. There was interest from several sources, but no funds. After close to a year the decision was made to take down his work. By this time things had deteriorated to the point that we felt that if it were to be restored. so much needed to be done that it would no longer be Dad’s work. This was a very difficult decision, knowing that it would be gone for ever. South Mountian Water Co. were saints. Dad had not been able to make a lease payment for five or six years, yet they allowed Bibleland to remain. There was no monetary transactions between me or the family and SMWC.

The land for Temecula Bibleland was leased from Dr. Rudolf Rodriguez of Los Angeles. Another saint for working with Dad and allowing him to stay on for a pitence of a lease payment.

I would very Much like to know the name of the Air Force sargent that posed for Thaddeus. (not Mathew)”

In His Beat (article)

The Sand Man (article)

Bible Land Moves (article)

Pat Morrison LA Times (article)