Native American (Wintu-Nomtipom/Tenai), 20th–21st century, male.
Born 5 October 1937, in San Francisco.
Artist, poet, writer, traditional dancer.
Frank LaPena, of the Wintu-Nomtipom/Tenai of Northern California, is a key figure, along with a number of other important Native artists working in California during the 1970s, in what has been termed a ‘Renaissance’ in California Indian arts. Many of LaPena’s artworks engage directly with his awareness of California Indian experience and memory. He has used Mount Shasta significantly as a source of inspiration. As was usual for his generation, he attended a federal Indian boarding school (in Stewart, Nevada) and experienced its harsh assimilationist doctrines. He began to be interested in the arts during high school and this developed further during his undergraduate years at California State University, Chico. Later earning a teaching credential at San Francisco State University and a Masters of Arts degree at CSU, Sacramento, he would eventually teach at the latter as Professor of Art and Ethnic Studies. He has said that he learnt more from his California Indian elders than anything presented to him in the state education system. Now retired, he continues to hold leadership roles in the arts both locally and nationally....