San Luis Obispo Art Center 2009

We Belong to the Earth: A Tribute to California’s Indigenous Traditions
group exhibition
San Luis Obispo Art Center
San Louis Obispo, CA
October 9-November 21, 2009



We Belong to the Earth: A Tribute to California’s Indigenous Traditions is a three-artist exhibition that explores the rich legacy of the Tongva and Chumash tribal peoples through contemporary art and photography. The exhibition runs from October 9 through November 21, 2009. A reception for the artists will take place October 9, 6:30 to 8:30 pm, during Art After Dark.

We Belong to the Earth features the work of three California artists: multi-media artist Linda Vallejo (Topanga), experimental photographer Sheila Pinkel (Los Angeles) and photographer Robert Frear (San Luis Obispo). They engage with California’s Native American heritage and its sacred narratives that integrate spiritual life with the landscape and its seasons. The Tongva lived in the Los Angeles basin; the Chumash were concentrated on the Central Coast. The exhibition was organized by Gordon Fuglie, the Art Center’s curator of exhibitions and collections.

From her studio near the Topanga Canyon wilderness, Linda Vallejo produces paintings, sculpture and mixed media work that reflect her participation in and presentation of inter-tribal indigenous ceremonies, some of which take place in remote locales in California. Her multiple-media work, A Prayer for the Earth Eco Installation, a homage to the spiritual in nature, will be on display at the Art Center.

Sheila Pinkel, Professor of Art at Pomona College, says “my work has been about making visible the invisible in nature and in culture.” In 2003, she was commissioned to create a 32-foot wide photographic mural on Tongva culture for the Sherman Oaks Public Library. Pinkel spent two years working with the Tongva people so that she could properly represent their culture. The mural was also an outgrowth of her interest in astronomy and archaeo-astronomy and shows plants, animals, artifacts and rituals important to the Tongva throughout the year. Pinkel produced a second mural especially for the Art Center’s presentation of We Belong to the Earth.

Robert Frear is an explorer and photographer of Central California’s remote natural areas. He recently trekked through the San Rafael Wilderness in north Santa Barbara County in search of petroglyphs and pictographs produced by a clan of Chumash Indians who once inhabited the area. His photographs attempt to evoke the spiritual power of the sacred sites with their nature-based and celestial imagery adorning rock faces and caves.



“We Belong to the Earth” Connects SLO to its Roots, Mustang News, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA



Exhibition invitationA Prayer for the Earth