Kumeyaay Resistance and “Abusive” Art Under the Spanish – OB Historical Society, Sept. 21st

by on September 18, 2017 · 0 comments

in Civil Rights

Kumeyaay Resistance and “Abusive” Art at Mission San Diego and the San Diego Presidio By Richard Carrico

Richard Carrico, local historian and anthropologist, will delve into the “dark art” that the Kumeyaay used to continue their ancient artistic practices and their use of symbology under the Spanish. Carrico usually makes an appearance once a year in Ocean Beach to share his vast knowledge of the history, culture and experiences of the San Diego area native Americans.

This time he speaks at the monthly OB Historical Society presentation, on Thursday, September 21 at 7 pm at P.L. United Methodist Church, 1984 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., O.B.

Do you ever wonder how the local Kumeyaay Indians might have resisted Spanish colonization besides sacking Mission San Diego in 1775? Is there any chance that they used art forms to show their disdain for the Spaniards right beneath (and above) the eyes of the colonists?

In this highly informative and engaging talk, Carrico will delve into the “dark art” that the Kumeyaay used to continue their ancient artistic practices and their use of symbology. The Kumeyaay served as laborers at both the mission and presidio and as part of that work effort they formed and fired the adobe roof tiles (tejas) and floor tiles (baldosas) at both outposts.

Probably unknown to their supervisors and to Spanish authorities, some Kumeyaay inscribed the wet adobe with images and symbols. Many of the images are comparable to designs we see in local rock art and on ceramic pots and vessels that predate the arrival of the Spaniards. They include circles, concentric designs, cross-hatching, and what may be human figures. In addition some of the designs depict things and places on presidio hill.

Through a series of vivid slides and images Richard will guide us back to the 1770-1820 period when the tiles were formed and decorated and then link the art work to a far more ancient period. Mr. Carrico will strongly suggest that the images have deep rooted meaning and form what one scholar has called “abusive art” art that is meant to reflect cultural persistence and a rejection of some of the Spanish dictates.

An observer of something that doesn’t move, something that is the same this morning as it was thirty, fifty, or even one hundred years ago. Or is it?


The Kumeyaay called Ocean Beach “Ahapai” or “People’s Water”. See this.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: