Richmond Art Center Richmond Art Center

This Land Is Me

This exhibition highlights the work of three artists – Saif Senussi Azzuz, Kim Champion, and Emily Van Engel – who use abstraction to express ideas related to land care. Employing approaches that range from personal to cultural to imagined, selected works here show how abstraction can be a powerful tool for exploring how we can situate ourselves within the land; a vital first step towards restoring and protecting it.


Saif Senussi Azzuz

Saif Senussi Azzuz is a Libyan-Yurok artist whose paintings explore the interconnected and dynamic practices of Indigenous land management. Created using acrylic, dye and enamel on canvas, his bold large-scale works use an abstracted visual language to show care of ancestral lands as a process that is characterized by constant change and activity (a stark contrast to the idea of an unchanging ‘pristine wilderness’). The titles for his pieces are conversational and often include Yurok language, further highlighting traditional and contemporary culture side-by-side, and asserting Yurok people’s deep, ongoing commitment to land stewardship.

Kim Champion

Bay Area artist Kim Champion’s series My Father’s Garden is a visual tribute to the connection she shares with her father and the importance of her family’s land. Drawing the flora she remembers from her father’s extensive Mississippi garden, Champion uses abstraction to blend different plants into one organic form. The connection between different elements in these beautiful drawings become a metaphor for a family’s bond with each other and with their land. In a similar way, Champion’s Quiet drawings are meditations on nature that use line and shape to nurture a deeper connection with the landscape.

Emily Van Engel

In her new series of paintings, Emily Van Engel searches for a future without crisis through assigning positive meaning to colors – lavender is peaceful and represents health, mauve is collaborative and represents democracy, and so on. While her past representational landscape work has literally exposed environmental exploitation through the use of the medium of pollution, in this new work Van Engel is more compassionate and visionary. The colors are uplifting and the fluid forms, including a repeated web pattern, represent the weaving together of disparate elements to create a structure that Van Engel describes as “what it feels like to support each other to create a society and environment in balance.”

Click here for a grounding activity created by Emily Van Engel

Read Emily Van Engel’s Artist Statement


Saif Senussi Azzuz: Artist’s Bio, @like_a_safe

Kim Champion:,

Emily Van Engel:, @emilyvanengel



This Land Is Me is presented as part of the national series Extraction: Art on the Edge of the Abyss.






#RichmondSpeaks: Mural Art As Resistance


Mural Art As Resistance

Online Artists’ Talk: Thursday, August 5, 7-8pm PST CLICK HERE TO RSVP

Online Exhibition: July 5 – August 6, 2021

Join us online on Thursday, August 5 at 7pm as photographer Robin D. López (Shots from Richmond) will speak with three artists about their recent mural projects in Richmond: Deontá Allen, Rebeca Garcia-González, and David Solnit.

Presented here in conjunction with the talk are photos and video by Lopez documenting the artists’ work.

(You will receive an email 30 minutes before the event starts with a link.)


Deontá Allen is a Richmond-based artist who paints on canvas and apparel, and creates large-scale public murals. He is self-taught and his abstract style incorporates a signature color palette with iconic imagery from popular culture. In June of 2020, Allen in collaboration with Richmond Revolution and the community painted “Black Lives Matter” in large yellow letters on the street in downtown Richmond. Allen works for the East Bay Regional Park District and as part of the organization’s Diversity Committee which organized a successful petition calling for EBRPD to commemorate Juneteenth., @dallenart

Rebeca Garcia-González is a Richmond painter who grew up in a suburb of San Juan, Puerto Rico. After earning a BFA at the University of Puerto Rico with a focus on printmaking, she came to San Francisco in 1985 to pursue a graduate degree at the San Francisco Art Institute, but studied graphic design and education instead. Working within the public school system helped me develop an awareness of various US social movements, among them, immigrant rights, marriage equality, and racial justice. In 2016, after working as program manager in a couple of non-profits she became a full-time working artist and since then has been involved in public art., @rebecathepainter

Robin D. López is a Richmond freelance photographer, who aims to produce visuals that represent the voices and cultures of our communities. Other work also specializes in nature/wildlife and urban ecology. López has been actively engaged in the Richmond/San Pablo community throughout the past decade, having been a lifelong resident dedicated towards empowering and inspiring the next generation of change agents. López is currently working on his doctoral degree at the University of California, Berkeley in Environmental Science, Policy, & Management, and has been a researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab since 2012., @shotsfromrichmond

David Solnit is an East Bay Area artist and arts organizer who uses the arts to help win positive change and to protect our people and planet. He collaborates with communities and movements using: giant puppetry, street-pavement murals, guerrilla projections, 300 foot banners, theater pageants, occupying a McDonalds roof to support striking workers, and painting a giant modified-with-skull Chevron logo directly in front of Chevron’s refinery gate. He collaborates with fast food workers, Indigenous water protectors, public school teachers unions, health care workers, climate justice groups, and farmworkers. Art Builds for Climate Justice and a Better World (Facebook Group)


This series of four online monthly zoom talks highlights the work of Richmond artists and their peers. Recognizing that the Covid-19 pandemic has severely limited opportunities for artists to present their work, RAC LIVE utilizes virtual platforms to show how artists are showing up, naming this moment and moving forward. 


This Artists’ Talk and Online Exhibition are part of RAC LIVE, a project supported by a 2021 Neighborhood Public Art Mini-Grant from the Richmond Arts and Culture Commission.

California Girls 2

In 1971, I organized an exhibition called California Girls at Richmond Art Center in Richmond, California. At the time I was curator there, but shortly after the opening of that show on February 11, I was forced to resign.

This year is the 50th anniversary of California Girls and I am organizing California Girls 2. Because of the coronavirus pandemic it is an online exhibition. The original title was suggested by Janet Webb, an LA artist in the exhibition. It is based on the song by the Beach Boys from the 1960s. The original exhibition included women from Los Angeles and San Francisco. California Girls 2 includes women only from the Bay Area.

There are a dozen women in this show. Two sculptors, three photographers, and seven painters. They are all older than 50. The original California Girls were all under 50, mostly in their twenties and did not include any photographers. In 1971 photography was not recognized as art as much as it is today and was not exhibited in the same exhibitions as painting and sculpture.

The women in this show are important artists.

              – Tom Marioni

CLICK HERE to read a new interview with Tom Marioni by Shaelyn Hanes.


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