Tell us a bit about your background – where were you born and raised? How did you decide to attend UCLA, and why did you decide to study Art History?
I was born in the Los Angeles area and lived there for many years before moving to the Bay Area. After completing my BA in Art History at Stanford, I decided to pursue graduate studies in Art History. First, I earned my MA at the University of Washington and then I attended UCLA for my PhD. UCLA’s Art History PhD program was a strong fit for my research interests. Taking classes from Professor Charlene Villaseñor Black and Professor Stella Nair provided me with the theoretical and methodological toolkit to examine Indigenous arts from the Spanish colonial borderlands, specifically art and visual culture from California’s missions.
Any fond memories of your time studying art history at UCLA? Any fond memories of faculty members that you worked with?
In 2015, my advisor, Professor Villaseñor Black invited me to contribute to UCLA’s Early Music Ensemble Imagining the New World “Imaginings, Stories, and Histories: Invited Program Notes.” In addition to writing about music Native peoples sang at the California missions, I had the opportunity to sing with the ensemble, which included Professor Villaseñor Black.
Please share some of your upcoming plans and projects!
I am currently working on my first single-authored book, Indigenizing the Visual Landscape of California’s Missions and Beyond: 1769-1936. In this publication, which is informed by my Tongva ancestry, I examine previously overlooked examples of Indigenous art, architecture, and material culture from California’s missions and the cross-cultural influences that shaped their production.