a painting of the back of a bird

North Mountain, Undated

Frank LaPena

Nomtipom Wintu, 1937–2019, Acrylic, Collection of the Frank LaPena Trust

This triptych depicts the snow-covered Mount Shasta under the protective wing of a great bird spirit. Through song and ceremony, countless generations of Indigenous people have maintained their relationship with this sacred place. Today, they engage with the mountain and its life force according their traditions.

artist bio

The World is a Gift: Remembering Frank LaPena

Art. Ceremony. Community. Tradition. Innovation. Activism.

Through his work, Frank LaPena defined a generation of Native artists who live with the spirits of their Ancestors and have become a voice for the past, present, and future of the Native experience in California and beyond. Using his Indigeneity as a foundation, Frank has generously shared his version of healing with the world through art, dance, song, and scholarship. His words and images—sometimes somber, sometimes celebratory—resonate with all of us, reflecting both hard truths and hopeful visions. The Autry Museum of the American West is proud to dedicate this portion of the exhibition to Frank LaPena, whose life and work are truly a gift to the world.


When I Remember I See Red: American Indian Art and Activism in California was organized by the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA, with support from the United Auburn Indian Community. This presentation at the Autry has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Land Acknowledgment

The Autry Museum of the American West acknowledges the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (the Los Angeles basin and So. Channel Islands). We recognize that the Autry Museum and its campuses are located on the traditional lands of Gabrielino/Tongva peoples and we pay our respects to the Honuukvetam (Ancestors), ‘Ahiihirom (Elders) and ‘Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.

The Autry Museum in Griffith Park

4700 Western Heritage Way

Los Angeles, CA 90027-1462
Located northeast of downtown, across from the Los Angeles Zoo.
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