In the early 1970s Dabah acquired an eight-acre parcel in Joshua Tree after having been involved in some real estate transactions in the desert. He was initially attracted to the area by the magic of the land, and the warmness of the people of the Morongo Valley. The artist was even able to visit with the famed sculptor Noah Purifoy a few times. He really enjoyed Purifoy as a man, in addition to his work.
He recalls, “We used to go to all the second-hand stores. And the swap meet – we went to the swap meet a lot! We made a lot of friends, and we had a whole group of people that we spent time with. We used to go dancing at a hotel in Yucca Valley! We used to go to Pappy and Harriet’s up in Pioneertown for dinner and dancing, too. If it weren’t for my age, we’d still be going! It was a wonderful life in Joshua Tree. It still would be if I wasn’t such an old fart,” Simi joked.
In describing his process, he notes, “The scrap itself held the vision. I could just look at a piece of scrap and I knew that I could make something with it. Coming up with the designs was a piece of cake. It just spilled out of me when I looked at the steel. I finally learned how to use an arc welder, too. It was much better for me than the oxy/acetylene set-up.” After installing many sculptures on his JT land, he felt that he had to do something with them, so he set up the Simi Dabah Sculpture foundation. Simi notes, “They’ve been doing a fabulous job.”