Sant Khalsa (b. Sheila Roth, January 3, 1953, New York, NY) is an artist and activist living in Southern California since 1975. Her artworks and projects develop from her mindful inquiry into the nature of place and complex environmental and societal issues.
Her artwork has been widely shown internationally and acquired by museum collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Nevada Museum of Art, UCR/California Museum of Photography, Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego and others in addition to private and corporate collections in the U.S. and Europe. Khalsa is a recipient of fellowships, awards and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, California Council for the Humanities, Center for Photographic Art in Carmel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and others. In March 2012, she was honored as the inaugural recipient of the Society for Photographic Education Insight Award for her significant contributions to the field of photography. Additionally, she was recipient of the 2015 Society for Photographic Education West Region Honored Educator award.
Khalsa was a member of the Water in the West project, a large-scale photographic collaboration addressing water issues in the Western United States. The Project was founded in 1989 to create contemporary photographs and to collect historical images on a wide range of topics related to the use and abuse of water in the American West. The Project members are: photographers, Laurie Brown, Robert Dawson, Terry Evans, Geoffrey Fricker, Peter Goin, Wanda Hammerbeck, Sant Khalsa, Mark Klett, Ellen Land-Weber, Sharon Stewart, Martin Stupich, Greg Conniff and historian/curator Ellen Manchester. The Water in the West Project archive is part of the permanent collection at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
Her artworks are published in numerous books and exhibition catalogues including the monograph Sant Khalsa: Prana: Life with Trees (Griffith Moon/MOAH, 2019), In the Sunshine of Neglect (Inlandia Institute, 2018), Altered Landscape: Photographs of a Changing Environment (Skira/Rizzoli, 2011), Art in Action: Nature, Creativity and Our Collective Future (Natural World Museum and Earth Aware Editions, 2007), Seismic Shift: Lewis Baltz, Joe Deal and California Landscape Photography, 1944 - 1984 (UCR California Museum of Photography, 2011), Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography, 1945-1982 (Palm Springs Art Museum, 2012), The Altered Landscape (University of Nevada Press, 1999), and Fotofest H2O 04: Celebrating Water (Fotofest, 2004). Articles and critical reviews regarding her artwork can be found in Art in America, Artforum, Artillery, Art+Cake, Art Ltd., The Guardian, Smithsonian Magazine, Southwest Contemporary, Afterimage, American Photo, Exposure, European Photography, British Journal of Photography, Huffington Post, LA Weekly, New Art Examiner, Coagula Art Journal, ArtScene, Los Angeles Times, Artweek, Visions Art Quarterly, PDN/Photo District News, Boston Globe, High Performance, among others.
Sant Khalsa frequently lectures at professional conferences, art venues, and universities including The Getty Center, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Society for Photographic Education (SPE), Museum of Art and History (MOAH) in Lancaster, CA, Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, Western Historical Society, American Photography Institute at New York University, Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Pomona College, San Francisco State University, Idyllwild Arts Academy, Claremont Graduate University, Arizona State University, San Jose State University, and others.
She is a Professor of Art, Emerita at California State University, San Bernardino where she served on the art faculty from 1988 to 2018, as Art Department Chair from 2003-2012, and is one of the founding faculty of the Water Resources Institute (WRI) reseach center and archive. Sant Khalsa resides in Joshua Tree, California, where she is founding director of the Joshua Tree Center for Photographic Arts and is co-founder and facilitator of JTAP (Joshua Tree Arts Professionals). She also hosts the monthly ecoartspace.org (Zoom) program Tree Talk: Artists Speak for Trees and serves on the Kipaipai faculty.