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Fall 2023 Oxy Arts Reading Room

Exhibit Description

The Iridescence of Knowing invites visitors to explore the rich lineage of Indigenous cultural production in Tovaangar, known today as the greater Los Angeles basin. The exhibition brings together a collection of works from diverse artists from multiple generations and varied First Peoples communities of Southern California. The works challenge conventional boundaries between "craft" and "fine art”, uplifting intergenerational transmission of culture, the significance of lineage, and the profound connections between cultural tradition and contemporary artistic practices.

In Indigenous cultures, ancestral histories are often influenced by multifaceted perspectives—ecological, spiritual, oral, cosmological. The notion of iridescence captures this fluid, reflective, ever-evolving nature of understanding and serves as a powerful metaphor for the transformative and dynamic qualities of knowing.

Weaving, both as a physical technique vital to Indigenous craft and as a symbolic concept, lies at the heart of this exhibition. Weaving represents not only tangible embodied skill, but also the intangible essence of transgenerational cultural memory that bridges time and space. Here, weaving serves as a powerful symbol, holding space for different modalities of artistic expression and fostering a circular expansion of ideas that move beyond traditional linear narratives of time. In this way, contemporary approaches to making are woven inextricably with generational ones, holding refractions of influence and celebrating the vibrant presence of both the past and present in the current creative landscape.

The Iridescence of Knowing provides a space for reflection, dialogue, and celebration of artistic traditions. It invites visitors to consider the embodied relationship between physical objects and the realms of generational energy that they hold. It encourages exploration of ancestral lineages and contemplation of ways in which cultural traditions can be sustained, evolve, and remain relevant in the present and for generations to come.

Curational Team

Mercedes Dorame, 2023-2024 Wanlass Artist in Residence

Joel Garcia, 2023 Visiting Curator

Recommended Reading

The links in this section connect to web resources.

The links in this section connect to books in the Occidental College Library catalog. For those outside the Oxy Community, please cross-search these titles with your local library or bookstore.

Reading list compiled by Mercedes Dorame and Joel Garcia.

Land Acknowledgement

OXY ARTS sits on the land of the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples. We acknowledge the Gabrielino Tongva as the original caretakers of Tovangaar which spans LA County, parts of Northern Orange County and the Southern California Channel Islands. The Gabrielino Tongva people continue to remain in relationships with these lands through ceremony, culture, and stewardship. You can look up whose land you are on at

OXY ARTS acknowledges our presence on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples. We pay our respects to the Honuukvetam (Ancestors), ‘Ahiihirom (Elders) and ‘Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.

To go beyond acknowledgement, go to and make a financial kuuy nahwá’a, guest exchange, to the Tongva Taraxat Paxaavxa Conservancy, the Tongva-led land conservancy in Tovaangar/LA where land has rightfully returned to their hands for the first time since colonization.