Pepperdine: Walking Tour of LA Lynching Sites

Trees feature prominently in the origin stories of many world religions. Ancient history recounts how their shade and branches have been sites of contemplation, suffering, and renewal. Today, trees still speak: deep root systems form tangled webs of communication, blunt stumps nod to deforestation, and charred limbs attest to fires started by our own hands. First curated by Bridge Projects, a gallery that catalyzes interdisciplinary explorations of contemporary art, spirituality, and religious traditions, To Bough and to Bend explores these ecological issues through the work of 30 artists who look to religious and historic art practices to guide us back into fellowship with these old friends and the living world we share.

Please join us for an artist-led walking tour around historical sites in downtown Los Angeles to learn about the history of lynching in California. Organized by the Pepperdine University Art Museum and Bridge Projects in conjunction with the exhibition To Bough and To Bend at the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art.

In the early 2000s, Mexican-American artist Ken Gonzales-Day embarked on an extensive eight year project to research and document confirmed lynching sites in California, culminating with his book Lynching in the West: 1850–1935 and his photographic series titled Searching for California’s Hang Trees.

By documenting the “witness trees” and the environs central to these crimes, the artist offers a “physical testimony” of the more than 350 lynching cases in California between 1850 and 1935, uncovering a dark, often overlooked past and the ongoing racial struggles in America.

Ken Gonzales-Day’s photograph, Two men were taken, included in the exhibition To Bough and To Bend, contributes a powerful example of witness. In the artist’s own words, he seeks through his research-based practice to make “Erasure into a site of production and absence into an effective presence that critically engages viewers and creates new meaning.”

Meet at Union Station at 10 am. Tour will depart at 10:15 am and the duration is approximately 1 hour ending at Olvera Street.

More info at Bridge Projects