Crossing Waters: Contemporary Tongva Artists Carrying Pimugna

Catalina Museum for Art & History will present the exhibition Crossing Waters: Contemporary Tongva Artists Carrying Pimugna, featuring a collection of works created by three contemporary Tongva artists, Weshoyot Alvitre, Mercedes Dorame, and River Garza. Opening on September 10, Crossing Waters marks the inaugural partnership between the museum and the Tongva Community, recognizing the Tongva people as the first islanders of Santa Catalina. 

Pimugna, often shortened to Pimu, is the Tongva name for the island now commonly known as Catalina Island. It was once an integral part of greater Tonvaangar—the Tongva world. Through their individual practices, the three presenting artists explore their relationship with the island, crossing waters to connect past, present, and future. As descendants of the Tongva community, Alvitre, Dorame and Garza will debut a variety of never before seen contemporary art pieces for the new exhibition. Crossing Waters will be the first time the three Tongva artists are shown together. In celebration of the new exhibition, the museum will host an official opening party on Saturday, October 22.

“This marks the first Catalina Museum show devoted to Tongva tribal and community voices,” said Johnny Sampson, Deputy Director and Chief Curator for the museum. “We are excited to bring these incredible artists together to provide a platform for conversation, using contemporary art as the vessel, crossing time and bridging cultures, to discuss Pimugna’s place in the Original people’s history and future.” 

Crossing Waters was created in partnership with members of tribal entities listed on the Native American Heritage Commission list, the LA City/County Indian Commission, the NAGPRA committee at UCLA, and other indigenous community and tribal members to form a Tongva Advisory Council.  

For more information about Crossing Waters: Contemporary Tongva Artists Carrying Pimugna exhibition at Catalina Museum for Art & History, visit 

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