A Global Destination for Art: Mercedes Dorame and River Garza
The Map and the Territory includes two site-specific installations by Tongva artists Mercedes Dorame and River Garza. Featuring objects excavated in Southern California, along with archival materials from the Fowler’s archaeological collection, the installations prompt viewers to examine the processes by which institutions like the Fowler acquire, catalog, store, and study objects from Indigenous communities. The installations give new meanings to these objects, creating new spaces of intersection and understanding.
Join the artists, the Fowler’s Chief Curator Matthew H. Robb, and Senior Curator of Archaeology Wendy Teeter for a conversation about these installations; the artists’ current projects; the systems that have brought such objects to the Fowler; and the ongoing dialogues between tribal communities and museums.
This program is presented in partnership with the UCLA American Indian Studies Center.
Mercedes Dorame is a visual artist who calls on her Tongva ancestry to engage the problematics of visibility and ideas of cultural construction as an outcome of the need to tie one’s existence to the land. Dorame was recently honored by UCLA as an outstanding alumna of the past 100 years; and was part of the Hammer Museum’s 2018 Made in LA biennial. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Hammer Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum at UC Berkeley, among other institutions. Dorame was born in Los Angeles; received her undergraduate degree from UCLA; and her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute.
River T. Garza is a Los Angeles-based artist of Indigenous and Mexican descent, a paddler, and a member of Ti’at Society. Garza’s work draws on Tongva and Mexican cultures, traditional Indigenous aesthetics and graffiti, as well as Southern California Indigenous maritime culture. He uses his work to critique settler capitalism, while exploring how the literal and metaphoric layers of colonialism add weight to contemporary Indigenous identity, which is a source of both pain and creativity.
A Global Destination for Art
Artists from all over the world flock to work in Los Angeles, drawn by the energy of ingenuity and the space for experimental expression. Join us on Zoom as we visit with artists exhibiting in our City of Angels.
Left: River Garza, Untitled, 2021. Right: Mercedes Dorame, Our Land and Sky Waking Up – ‘Eyoo’ooxon koy Tokuupar Chorii’aa, 2021.