California Stars: Huivaniūs Pütsiv in the Klah Gallery, on display from February 11, 2023 through January 14, 2024.

We explore the impact of multiple generations of First Californian artists. Loosely translated, Huivaniūs Pütsiv in the Chemehuevi language means “stars with us/around us.” This honors the illumination, and inspiration, that these stellar artists have provided, influencing the Native American contemporary art field for more than six decades.
These landmark First Californian artists work across varied media to develop richly layered work inspired by personal experience, spirituality, and traditions. They speak to the complexity of everyday life for Native Americans who are frequently forced to negotiate misrepresentation and encroachment on land, culture, and values. In so doing they emphasize questions of identity, Indigenous resilience, and social justice.
California today is the location of diverse Tribal communities, and the cumulative impact of extractive colonialism continues to have negative impacts. Nevertheless, successive generations of artists, ever-present in constellation, guide us towards a deeper understanding of the complexity of these issues. They invite us to witness and experience transcendence.
California Stars/Huivaniūs Pütsiv creates a dialog between iconic and lesser-known works from the Wheelwright Museum’s permanent collection with important loans and new works devised especially for the exhibition. Since the 1970s, the Wheelwright Museum has had an important role in Santa Fe, and beyond, in bringing attention to established and emerging Native artists in solo shows and group exhibitions.


Artists showcased in California Stars are:

Jean LaMarr b. 1945 (Pit River/Paiute)

Judith Lowry b. 1948 (Hammawi Band Pit River/ Mountain Maidu/ Washoe/ Scottish/ Irish/ Australian)

L. Frank Manriquez b.1952 (Tongva/Ajachmem)

Jacob Meders, b. 1977 (Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria/Maidu)

Jamie Okuma b. 1977 (Luiseño/Shoshone-Bannock)

Cara Romero b. 1977 (Chemehuevi Indian Tribe)

Liz Wallace b. 1975 (Navajo/Washoe/Maidu)

Rick Bartow 1946 – 2016, (Mad River band of the Wiyot Tribe)

Frank Day, 1902 – 1976, (Maidu/Konkaw)

Harry Fonseca, 1946–2006 (Nisenan/Maidu/Native Hawaiian/Portuguese)

Frank LaPena, 1937–2019 (Nomtipom Wintu)

James Luna,1950 – 2018, (Luiseño/Puyukitchum/Ipai/Mexican)

Fritz Scholder, 1937 – 2005 (Luiseño)

Billy War Soldier Soza, 1949 – 2014, (Soboba Band of Indians)

Images shown above:
-James Luna, 1950 – 2018, (Luiseño, Puyukitchum, Ipai, and Mexican)
Half Indian/Half Mexican, 1991, Gelatin silver print triptych, Edition of 6, 2 Artist’s Proofs. Loan and photo from The Tia Collection, Santa Fe, NM. Courtesy of the James Luna Estate, and Garth Greenan Gallery.
-Jamie Okuma, b. 1977 (Luiseño/Shoshone-Bannock, Wailaki, Okinawan) Beaded Floral Spiked Backpack
c. 2020 Vintage and contemporary beads, brain tanned, buckskin, Italian leather, metal spikes. Loan from Keri Ataumbi
-Fritz Scholder, 1937 – 2005 (Luiseño), Navajo Woman and Blanket, 1979. Oil on canvas. Loan and photo from The Tia Collection, Santa Fe, NM, James Hart Photography
-Judith Lowry b. 1948 (Hammawi Band Pit River/ Mountain Maidu/ Washoe/ Scottish/ Irish/ Australian) Dao Lulelek,
2012 Acrylic on canvas. Loan from the artist
-Harry Fonseca, 1946–2006 (Nisenan/Maidu/Native Hawaiian/Portuguese) Coyote Thirteen Lithographs and a Poem Series Lithograph, Edition 28 of 30, 1984. From the Collection of Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian
-Jacob Meders, b. 1977 (Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria/Maidu)
K’awí ć epém májdym (Earth-seeing person) 2022 Serigraph and wood block print, gold leaf on canvas Loan from the artist

Programming around this exhibition includes:

Curatorial Session via KSFR Nativescape radio interview with Jacob Meders

February 1, 2023

Nativescape host and curator of California Stars, Andrea Hanley (Navajo), will interview exhibition artist Jacob Meders, (Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria/Maidu).


Reflections on: Fashion with Wheelwright Museum Board Member Amber Dawn Bear Robe

(Wheelwright Museum & Zoom)

March 11, 2023

Curator and art historian Amber-Dawn Bear Robe from the Southwestern Association for American Indian Arts (SWAIA) Fashion Show, reflects on the genesis of the event, which has seen the participation of  luminaries of Native North American fashion like B.Yellowtail, Sho Sho Esquiro, Jamie Okuma, Loren Aragon, Patricia Michaels, Violet Ahmie, Orlando Dugi, and Yolonda Skelton to the runway each year.


California Conversations at the Wheelwright

(Wheelwright Museum & Zoom)

April 8, 2023

Cara Romero (Chemehuevi Indian Tribe) and L. Frank Manriquez (Tongva/Ajachmem) interview each other on their work and their identity as First California women.


Reflections on: The James Luna Archive – Crazy Days at the Lazy H

(Wheelwright Museum & Zoom)

May 27, 2023

Tatiana Lomahaftewa-Singer (Hopi/Choctaw) (MoCNA Curator of Collections) and Ryan S. Flahive (IAIA Archivist) as they discuss collecting the archive of performance and installation artist James Luna (Luiseno/Diegueno) at his home on the La Jolla Indian Reservation in California.


Reflections on: Rick Bartow with Charles Froelick


June 22, 2023

Charles Froelick the owner of Froelick Gallery will discuss his unique relationship with artist Rick Bartow. Froelick is an active member of the Portland arts community. Serving as a board member of the Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts and the Portland Art Dealers Association. Charles worked with the Friends of the Gilkey Center for Graphic Arts, and both member and President of the Board of Advisors at the Portland Art Museum. He served on the Regional Arts & Culture Council’s Public Art Advisory Committee in Portland.