Press Release: Time and Again
Time and Again
An exhibition of Rigo 23’s statue of Native activist Leonard Peltier
Exhibition: September 9 – November 18, 2021
Richmond Art Center
2540 Barrett Avenue, Richmond, CA 94804
Gallery Hours: Thurs 10am-2pm, Sat 10am-2pm, or by appt 510-620-6772
Richmond, CA: Richmond Art Center (RAC) is honored to present Time and Again, an exhibition centered on Rigo 23’s monumental sculptural tribute to Native American activist Leonard Peltier. Twelve feet tall, the sculpture sits at the center of the exhibition anchoring a narrative of Leonard Peltier’s 45-year long incarceration. For the first time, the sculpture will be presented alongside photographs, letters, artwork, posters and ephemera from Rigo’s archive. By sharing these, the artist invites the visitors for an intimate and informal conversation, one that illuminates the artist’s more than two decade long journey – as well as present some of the historical context which helps understand Leonard Peltier’s ongoing cruel predicament.
On Sunday September 12, a celebration will be held in honor of Peltier’s 77th birthday and attended by his daughter Kathy. Capacity is limited; contact RAC for reservations or to organize a press preview.
The sculpture (California redwood, foam, plywood, and metal) is based on a small hand-painted self portrait Leonard Peltier created in prison. The statue’s 9 x 6 foot base replicates the dimensions of a traditional prison cell. Each time the work is shown, the exhibition incorporates selections from the growing collection of photographs of supporters standing in solidarity on the statue’s feet.
Completed in 2016 and first shown at the Katzen Art Center at the American University, Washington D.C., the artwork was almost immediately censored, removed from display, and subsequently withheld from the artist for one year. The removal of the statue was in response to a bomb threat and to the University’s president receiving complaints from the FBI Agents Association – events which happened on the same day. Since its return to the artist, it has been exhibited at the Main Museum in Los Angeles (2018), SOMArts (2019) and most recently atop the roof of the San Francisco Institute of Art overlooking Alcatraz Island (2020).
The statue’s feet, which are detachable, have taken their own journey, traveling to significant sites of Native Resistance across the U.S. including Standing Rock, Alcatraz Island, Wounded Knee, Crow Dog’s Paradise, and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Supporters have been invited to stand on the feet as an expression of solidarity – and be photographed. In summer 2021, Richmond Art Center also welcomed members of the community to do so.
The current exhibition includes materials such as original sketches for the banner “It’s 1999, Why is Leonard Peltier Still in Prison?” mounted outside the Berkely Art Museum; photographs from the Tate Wikikuwa Museum installed at the deYoung Museum that same year; brochure and zine from theTate Wikikuwa Museum at the Warehouse Gallery in Syracuse University where the Leonard Peltier sculpture premiered, in 2011; and historical photographs by the late Michelle Vignes documenting seminal events in the history of the American Indian Movement.
Time and Again draws a very particular circle for both Rigo and RAC. In 1996, twenty-five years ago, RAC welcomed the artist to present his first solo exhibition: Time and Time Again: A Tribute to Geronimo Ji-Jaga. The following year, upon his release from prison, Geronimo would urge the artist to continue using his art to bring to light the plight of political prisoners in the United States. The two remained close friends until Geronimo’s death in 2011. In 1999 Geronimo visited the De Young Museum, in San Francisco, for an exhibition Rigo held there dedicated to Leonard Peltier’s plight.
About the Artist: Rigo 23 has exhibited his work internationally for over 30 years placing murals, paintings, sculptures, and tile work in public situations where viewers are encouraged to examine their relationship to their community, their role as unwitting advocates of public policy, and their place on a planet occupied by many other living things. His projects have included inter-communal collaborations with Native Tribes in North and South America; long-term partnerships with political prisoners; and alliances with underrepresented and disenfranchised individuals and communities. @rigo23studio @peltierstatue #freeleonardpeltier
About Richmond Art Center: Richmond Art Center has been sharing art and creating with the community since 1936. Our programs encompass classes, exhibitions and events at our facility in downtown Richmond, as well as off-site activities that bring free, high-quality art making experiences to WCCUSD schools and community partners. richmondartcenter.org
Images: (top) Design by Rigo 23; (above left) Kathy Peltier stands on the feet from the statue of Leonard Peltier, photo by Rio Yañez; (above right) Detail of statue at RAC
For more information contact:
Roberto Martinez, Curator, firstname.lastname@example.org