Celebrating L.A.'s Ancestral Legacy
On November 12, 2022, We ARe Here: A Celebration of Legacy celebrated the stories of Black, Brown and Indigenous communities in the first-of-its-kind free festival in L.A.’s Grand Park. Presented in collaboration with For Freedoms and Kinfolk, We ARe Here: A Celebration of Legacy paired the worlds of physical and digital artistic experiences to broaden our understanding of L.A.’s ancestral history. Participants explored the idea of what legacy means in our world today by being part of a new way to memorialize unsung heroes with an augmented reality experience to witness the digital monuments of BIPOC historical figures throughout the park, appearing before your very eyes. This event was hosted in honor of Biddy Mason Day, and invited the whole community to enjoy live music, spoken word performances, artmaking, food and more.
Presented in collaboration with For Freedoms and Kinfolk.
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We ARe Here will incorporate The Music Center’s commission of three larger-than-life digital monuments that acknowledge often under-recognized BIPOC communities and individuals. Park visitors will discover these monuments during a walking tour of Grand Park. With the aid of the Kinfolk app, participants will be instructed to aim their mobile phones at three designated spots within Grand Park’s perimeter and witness the digital monuments of BIPOC historical figures who will appear before their very eyes. They include:
Biddy Mason, a nurse, midwife, philanthropist and entrepreneur who emerged as one of Los Angeles’ most prominent citizens in the 1850s and 1860s. She co-founded the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest African American church in the city. Artwork for this monument will be created by artist, curator and freedom seeker Autumn Breon.
We are thrilled to bring the digital monument of Biddy Mason to We ARe Here ahead of Biddy Mason Day on November 16!
Beatrice (Bea) Alva
Beatrice (Bea) Alva, whose Gabrieleno-Tongva tribe experienced genocide in 1852, was instrumental in representing her community in the modern age. In 1934, she was crowned the first San Gabriel Fiesta Queen and continued to be actively involved in the preservation of her Gabrieleno-Tongva ancestry until her death in 2010. Art direction for this monument provided by Samantha Morales-Johnson.
Gaspar Yanga, known as the first liberator of the Americas, led a successful anti-colonial campaign against the Spanish in 1609 in present-day Mexico. He established, ran and operated a maroon colony, one of its first free Black settlements. Today, the town of Yanga, located in the southern area of the State of Veracruz, boasts a population of approximately 18,000; 6,000 of which identify as Afro-descendent. Art direction for this monument provided by Alfredo Salazar-Caro.
About Our Partners
About For Freedoms
For Freedoms is an artist collective that centers art and creativity as a catalyst for transformative connection and collective liberation. By wielding the power of art, we aim to deepen and expand our capacity to interrogate what is and imagine what could be. Founded in 2016 by a coalition of artists, academics, and organizers, including Hank Willis Thomas, Eric Gottesman, Michelle Woo, and Wyatt Gallery, For Freedoms promotes infinite expansion through art, and is dedicated to awakening a culture of listening, healing, and justice.
Since 2017, Kinfolk (formerly Movers and Shakers NYC) has been holding public teach-ins and demonstrations, developed performance pieces and created augmented reality (AR) experiences that advocate for the decolonization of history. Its mission is to uproot oppressive systems and reimagine public spaces through art, emerging technology and storytelling. The vision is to inspire an equitable future. It's 2022, and Kinfolk is still frustrated by the lack of representation in public spaces and textbooks. Its approach is to:
- Educate the next generation
- Use augmented reality to write Black and Brown narratives into American curricula
- Use immersive technology to challenge the inequitable distribution of monuments
- Empower communities to collaborate