de Saisset Museum

South Bay's free museum of art and history

The World is a Gift: Frank LaPena

January 22–March 11, 2005


This exhibition features a sampling of recent paintings and prints by internationally exhibited artist and poet Frank LaPena. LaPena’s vividly colored and dramatically composed paintings explore tradition and ceremony, nature and spirituality. This exhibition will include several works inspired by his longstanding dedication to Native American ceremonial dance, the subject of his recent Heyday Books publication Dream Songs and Ceremony: Reflections on Traditional California Indian Dance.

Frank LaPena was born in 1937 in San Francisco. As a young man he became interested in the song, dance, and ceremonial traditions of his ancestors, the Nomtipom Wintu and the Nomlaki Wintun of north-central California, as well as those of neighboring tribes. With the Maidu Dancers and Traditionalists, he has been active in the revival and preservation of these native arts. His artwork has been exhibited since 1960 in numerous one-person and group exhibitions throughout the United States. He is a professor emeritus of art and ethnic studies at California State University, Sacramento.

Image: Frank LaPena, This Sacred World, 2002-2004, acrylic on board, 48 x 96 in., Courtesy of the artist.