KALW: Artist Rigo 23 honors incarcerated Native activist Leonard Peltier with a 12-foot statue
For decades, activists around the world have been pushing for the release of Leonard Peltier. The Native American activist was convicted of murdering two FBI agents in 1971 during a shootout on a South Dakota reservation. Peltier has been in a federal prison for 45 years, serving two life sentences, and says he didn’t kill the agents. Irregularities in the story from that fatal day are why activists say Peltier didn’t get a fair trial.
When you speak of Leonard, you’re not just talking about individual. You’re talking about hundreds of thousands that this person has somehow come to represent and be a symbol for.Rigo 23
The statue Rigo 23 created is inspired by a self-portrait of Leonard Peltier. The feet of the statue are detachable and have traveled around the country to historic sites of Indigenous resistance, including Standing Rock and Alcatraz.
See the statue now until November 18th at the Richmond Art Center. The exhibit is free.
Jenee Darden is an award-winning journalist, author, public speaker and proud Oakland native. She hosts the weekly arts segment Sights & Sounds and covers East Oakland for KALW. Jenee has reported for NPR, Marketplace, KQED, KPCC, The Los Angeles Times, Ebony magazine, Refinery29 and other outlets. In 2005, she reported on the London transit bombings for Time magazine. Prior to coming to KALW, she hosted the podcast Mental Health and Wellness Radio.