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Beginning with the occupation of Alcatraz in 1969, California became a beacon of creative freedom, individual expression, and social activism for Native peoples across the country. The region quickly transformed into a place where Native artists engaged with cultural diversity, historical traditions, and contemporary art to critique its colonial past. As a result, California became a site of artistic achievement within the broader story of Native art.
This exhibition features Native California artists who have used their work as a means of cultural resistance and renewal. Collectively, the artists in this exhibition practice a version of activism that combines elements of traditional and contemporary society to call out racial and social injustice and to heal communities through cultural renewal.
When I Remember I See Red was conceived by, and is dedicated to, Nomtipom Wintu artist Frank LaPena (1936–2019), a renowned art writer, curator, poet, traditionalist, and professor at Sacramento State University for 40 years.
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