We are thrilled to announce ICA LA’s participation in WE RISE from May 7 to May 30.
WE RISE, an initiative by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH), is a month-long series of free community programs, events and experiences highlighting the healing powers of art and connection during Mental Health Awareness Month. In its fourth year, WE RISE is needed now more than ever as the region emerges from the isolation of the global pandemic and continues to grapple with related stressors and racial injustice.
For complete information about WE RISE on their official website, click here.
ICA LA and Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND) have partnered to commission and work with artists veronique d'entremont and Julia Bogany, Megan Dorame, iris yirei hu to create original public art projects and public programs within the Los Angeles State Historic Park.
WE RISE / Art Rise opens on May 7 and there are public programs about each artist’s project over the weekend of May 7 and 8.
veronique d'entremont: Their Body Became (an antenna, transmitting the message of god)
Los Angeles State Historic Park
1245 N. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Public program: Their Body Became (an offering)
May 7, 6:30pm-8pm. More info here
veronique d’entremont presents a public artwork that reimagines their own family legacy of spiritual mysticism, bipolar disorder and suicide through the veneration of human ancestors and non-human kin. The artist’s installation Their Body Became (an antenna, transmitting the message of god) at the Los Angeles State Historic Park takes inspiration from their ongoing interspecies collaboration with feral swarms of honeybees. Borrowing from a multitude of sources including Christian Mysticism, Sicilian folk magic, earth-based spirituality, entomology and developmental psychology, the artist re-frames the story of their mother’s untimely death as one of martyrdom and sainthood—albeit unrecognized by the Catholic Church. Through their devotional sculpture and poetry, d’entremont crafts a personal mythology that seeks to reclaim agency and find liberation amidst patterns of intergenerational trauma.
Located at the top of a small hill is a 20’ diameter circular tapestry, painted with gold lettering that tells a poetic allegory of honeybee reproduction, through excerpts from the artist’s text Hail Holy Queen: A Novena To The Bees “…but we remind you, O Queen, your mother abandoned you that you might flourish.” In the center of the tapestry sits an empty adobe shrine, sculpted out of a mixture of unfired clay, cemetery dirt and the ashes of the artist’s mother. The shrine simultaneously refers to a backyard grotto that might house a religious icon, but also to the mountain caves in which feral honeybee colonies commonly make their homes. Over the course of the installation, the unfired ceramic shrine will evolve, reminding the viewer of both the impermanence of human-made institutions and the lifecycle of the natural works.
At the base of the hill are arranged a series of sculptural receptacles bearing purposeful statements written by the artist as a form of invocation. Viewers are invited to write their own responses or prayers and insert them into openings incorporated into the sculptures. In future artworks, the artist will engage these written contributions, and the ceramic receptacles will be put to use as sculptural hives for feral colonies of honeybees.
Through a QR code provided at the site, viewers are invited to watch documentation of “Their Body Became (an offering)” a ritual centering queer and trans bodies and inspired by Catholic “ex novoto” tradition, where symbols of body parts can be used as offerings that evoke gratitude or desire for healing. The syncretic nature of d’entremont’s work—merging spiritual traditions to yield new meaning—creates room for the frictions and contradictions implicit in the gesture of a queer artist reclaiming the Catholic rituals of their upbringing. Their Body Became (an antenna, transmitting the message of god) marks an expansion of d’entremont’s spiritual cosmology, as the artist moves beyond the matrilineal legacy of their biological family into an exploration of queer mysticism.
Los Angeles State Historic Park is located on a site with a syncretic history of its own. It was once an indigenous pueblo and trading site for the Tataviam, Chumash, and Tongva people, a Spanish settlement, and over the last two centuries the surrounding neighborhood has been a cultural center for Chinese, Mexican and Italian communities. On the street behind d’entremont’s installation sits St. Peter’s Italian Church, one of few remaining relics of Los Angeles’s Little Italy, where a now-aging Italian spiritual community hold processions and feasts honoring certain saints.
Julia Bogany, Megan Dorame, iris yirei hu Pakook koy Peshaax (The Sun Enters the Earth and Leaves the Earth)
Los Angeles State Historic Park
1245 N. Spring Stret
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Public program: Pakook koy Peshaax (The Sun Enters the Earth and Leaves the Earth) — Sundial portraits with Megan Dorame and iris yirei hu
May 8, 3pm-5pm. More info here
Julia Bogany (Tongva), poet Megan Dorame (Tongva), and artist iris yirei hu have constructed a human sundial entitled Pakook koy Peshaax (The Sun Enters the Earth and Leaves the Earth) at The Los Angeles State Historic Park. To interact with the sundial, the visitor stands upon a platform, from which their casted shadow tells time. The sundial considers the cycle of life and regeneration by using materials that can rehabilitate the earth. Soil and compost shape the sundial’s arc, onto which each hour is marked by stone replicas of cogstones. Cogstones are discoidal, cog-shaped objects that were carved into different varieties of stone. Because they are believed to have been ceremonial in nature, they are held in sacred regard to the Indigenous people of Southern California. Cogstones have been found throughout the Los Angeles Basin, with their highest concentrations being found along the Santa Ana River and at the Bolsa Chica site in Orange County. The enigmatic stones, which date back to at least 7000 BC, have shaped the Indigenous legacy of Southern California.
In an effort to ground our healing from traumatic and oppressive forces, Tongva elder Julia Bogany often led wellness circles for Indigenous women and youth that began with the question, “Who is the rock beside you?” to call in the relationships that have impacted and supported our lives. Her formative question eventually led the collaborative triad to feature the ancestral cogstones, whose function and meaning continue to be mysterious. In her poem, “Cogstones,” Tongva poet Megan Dorame uses the imagery of these sacred artifacts to question the cultural patrimony of the myriad of looted Tongva tribal objects that are currently displayed in museums. To repatriate these objects to her people, she symbolically throws them into the sky where her ancestors exist as stars. Dorame’s work is rooted in her homeland, the Los Angeles Basin, where she explores the entanglements of settler colonialism and confronts its implications on her community. In her work, she moves between past and present in search of a path towards healing, and ultimately finds her way through the language, images, sounds and songs of her ancestors.
Visitors are invited to stand on a colorful platform that features newly commissioned poetry by Megan Dorame and painted imagery by artist iris yirei hu. The imagery depicts Blue Child, a recurring ancestral figure in hu’s oeuvre, attuning themself to the brilliance of Bogany and Dorame’s Tovaangar while making meaning nearby Dorame words and Bogany’s legacy. In the past, hu and Bogany supported each other in creative and classroom teaching capacities in ways that uplifted Bogany’s advocacy to ensure that the future of her culture, people, and language are bountiful and accessible for generations to come. Together, Bogany, Dorame, and hu present visitors with an offering to connect purposefully to place and affirm our position within the extant systems of the universe. They imagine an alternate possibility for the cogstones’ return by forging a multi-layered path towards healing: To heal the soil is to heal the place we call home, and to heal the place we call home is to heal ourselves.
Pakook koy Peshaax (The Sun Enters the Earth and Leaves the Earth) is presented in loving memory of Julia Bogany, whose legacy lives on in the hearts of the Tongva community and beyond. To learn more about Ms. Bogany, please visit her website.
The project received astronomical consultation from Yuguang Chen, and fabrication assistance from Nicolas Papoin and David L. Bell.
Credits & Sponsors
WE RISE is the annual Mental Health Awareness Month initiative of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health’s ongoing WHY WE RISE campaign, funded by sponsorships and Prop 63.