Bruce Munro: Sonoran Light at Desert Botanical Garden

The Desert Botanical Garden is home to one of the world’s most spectacular living collections of the world’s desert plants. Upon arriving to Bruce Munro’s Sonoran Light exhibition, you may feel as though you have stepped into a world of fantasy and dreams. Sonoran Light showcases eight large-scale light-based installations using an inventive array of materials, and hundreds of miles of glowing fiber optics. Located throughout the Garden, Munro’s exhibition is a reflection of his personal interpretation of the Sonoran Desert.


British artist Bruce Munro is best known for large immersive light-based installations. He thought that by working in a medium that was very pure and true, he could have the opportunity to express the many different ideas that filled his head. The moments of shared experience, of feeling connected with the world – expressed by light.

I contemplated that connectedness as I made my way through the colorful installations. As I meandered through Field of Light, Saguaro, Temperate Zone, Water-Towers, Chindi, Beacon, Eden Blooms and Fireflies, I felt a bit like Dorothy. Unsure of what might happen next, where the paths would lead, whether the tall gangly cacti and trees would come alive in the moonlight. Though each engaged different senses, my favorite of the eight installations was Field of Light, featuring more than 30,000 individual spheres of light nestled on the hillside of the Garden Butte, cascading down onto the Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail.


From Munro’s Catching the Light: “I saw in my mind a landscape of illuminated stems that, like the dormant seed in a dry desert, quietly wait until darkness falls, under a blazing blanket of southern stars, to bloom with gentle rhythms of light.”

My advice – don’t take out your phone; it will remove you from the moment. Allow yourself to get lost. Breathe in deeply the sweet scent of the cactus flowers and succulents. Contemplate the larger things. Be open to the mystery, allure and whimsy of this place.

Munro’s Sonoran Light exhibition is on display at the Desert Botanical Garden through May 8, 2016. Munro’s series of Desert Radiance installations are on display throughout the Scottsdale area with various end dates through May 2016.

For more information on Sonoran Light, visit


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