2012-2013 – Edgar Heap of Birds
Pitzer College’s Art+Environment program kicked off its inaugural year with a public art installation by Edgar Heap of Birds, the program’s first artist-in-residence and an internationally-recognized contemporary artist. The installation, Native Hosts, will was on display for two years in various locations across Pitzer’s campus. A member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, Heap of Birds is a professor of Native American studies at the University of Oklahoma. His artwork has appeared in numerous museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Australia.
Native Hosts honors the Tongva, indigenous people whose ancestral homelands lie in the Los Angeles area. Created with local Tongva elders, Native Hosts features signs displaying the names of traditional villages and sacred sites. Pitzer Associate Professor of Art History Bill Anthes describes the artwork as “a point of conversation for members of our campus community and visitors to the campus about our local ‘hosts’ in Southern California.”
Native Hosts exemplifies how the art+environment program integrates art throughout the curriculum. Assistant Professor of Sociology Erich Steinman and Assistant Professor of Urban Studies Tessa Hicks Peterson incorporated the artwork into their course “Indigenous Peoples of the Americas.”
Native Hosts is the first of a series of joint art exhibitions that Pitzer will mount in coordination with Pomona College and Scripps College. A map of the exhibit and a translation of the signs are available here. Additionally, more documentation of the installation on Pitzer’s campus is available here.