For WE RISE 2021, Julia Bogany (Tongva), poet Megan Dorame (Tongva), and artist iris yirei hu have constructed a human sundial artwork titled Pakook koy Peshaax (The Sun Enters the Earth and Leaves the Earth) at Los Angeles State Historic Park. To interact with the sundial, visitors stand upon a platform in the daytime and their cast shadows tell time. We invite you to meet the artists iris yirei hu and Megan Dorame, interact with the sundial, and receive a photo portrait with this ephemeral environmental artwork inspired by ancient practices.
The artwork’s sundial’s arc is shaped with soil and compost with embedded soapstone replicas of cogstones to mark the hours of the day. Authentic cogstones are sacred discoidal, cog-shaped stone artifacts, carved into different varieties of stone, that date back to approximately 7000 BC and have been found throughout the Los Angeles Basin. They are believed to have been ceremonial in nature and are held in sacred regard by the Indigenous people of Southern California.
The sundial considers the impermanent and natural cycles of life and regeneration, and aims to explore kinship, difference, and belonging through art, story, and sharing space. How can we, as residents of and visitors to Los Angeles take care of the land upon which we walk while caring for one another in ways that uplift the Indigenous legacy of Southern California alongside the complex and various histories of immigration?
Megan Dorame is a Tongva poet who lives and writes in Santa Ana, California. She holds a BA in anthropology from the University of Oklahoma, and works to reclaim and revitalize the Tongva language. Megan is a 2020 PEN Emerging Voices Fellow and three of her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her work has appeared in Dryland, The Offing, and Best of the Net 2019, among others. Megan compiled and edited the forthcoming book anthology Totoongvetamme Maaynok / Tongva People Create, which brings together art and writing from the Tongva community. She is currently working on her first poetry collection.
Julia Bogany was a teacher, an activist, and an elder of the Tongva tribe dedicated to the teaching, revitalization, and visibility of Tongva language and culture. She worked for over thirty years for the American Indian community and for her tribe. She provided cultural, FASD, ICWA training and workshops in the Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside areas. She also provided workshops in Sacramento for the California Rural Indian Health Board Woman’s conferences. Ms. Bogany taught Tongva language and cultural classes. She helped to reawaken and revive the Tongva language, as well as assemble a Tongva dictionary.
She was Vice President of the Keepers of Indigenous Ways (KIW), a non-profit group of the Tongva, and President of Residential Motivators, her own non-profit consulting firm. Ms. Bogany served on several committees and organizations: Community Health Worker for Mental Health, California Indian Education Association, Children Court L.A. Round Table for ICWA, and runs co-ed and women’s circles. She was President of Kuruvungna Springs, a Representative for California tribes on Route 66, a member of CNAC (California Native American College board), and Pitzer College Elder-in-Residence at the Claremont Colleges, where she taught native culture and history and women’s issues. In September 2010, she received the Heritage Award from the Aquarium of the Pacific at their sixth annual Native American festival, Moompetam. Ms. Bogany consulted with and trained teachers and school boards on how to revise their curriculum to reflect the correct history of California and California tribes. Her desires were to change the future for her tribe, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
iris yirei hu is an artist from Los Angeles. She uses her hands to weave, tell stories, transform, dye, and compost her lived reality. She sees painting, weaving, natural indigo dyeing, collecting earthly specimens, and working with soil and fibers as ways to redeem the embodied intimacy we once had with the natural world. She often makes colorful, haptic, and large assemblages, in which one may encounter materials, stories, living organisms, and ecologies from Taiwan, California, Southern China, Mexico, and the American Southwest. Her work allows her to form connections with artists, scientists, historians, keepers of traditions, and community stakeholders and organizers, and sees these relationships as futures and friendships.
She has shown her work at the Plug-in ICA (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada), Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), OxyArts at Occidental College, John Michael Kohler Arts Center (Sheboygan, WI), Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Women’s Center for Creative Work, Human Resources, Lenfest Center for the Arts (New York, NY), and Visitor Welcome Center. Public art commissions include mural wraps at California State University Dominguez Hills (2020) and bus and rail posters for LA Metro (2016). She has held residencies at the Women’s Center for Creative Work (2018), Carrizozo AIR (2020), and Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (2021). She has been supported by the Foundation of Contemporary Art, Rema Hort Mann Foundation Artist Engagement Grant, and is a 2016 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow. Her work has been reviewed and featured in the LA Times, Artforum, Carla, American Craft Magazine, CNN, Sinovision, KCET, X-TRA Online, and Artillery. She is working on her first book. She earned her BA from UCLA and MFA from Columbia University in the City of New York.