Deep Maps

August 29 - December 5, 2024

Fresno City College Art Space Gallery and Library. 

 Deep Maps is an exhibition and research project presented jointly across FCC’s Art Space Gallery and Library. The project addresses the history of mapping as a colonial tool, moving beyond extractive map-uses to ask what forms of social, spiritual and embodied wayfinding are possible. Deep Maps engages an interdisciplinary group of artists, designers, and cultural practitioners whose works serve as deep maps across geographies and generations. 

 Pachia Lucy Vang, paj ntaub prototype.   Emilio Rojas, "Instructions on Becoming, Mountain"  

Left: Pachia Lucy Vang, Paj Ntaub prototype, (detail), 2023. Right: Emilio Rojas, Instructions for Becoming (mountain), 2022. Courtesy of the artists. 

Participating artists include family members Carissa Garcia and Alek Palacios, who will develop a critical visual response to historic promotional agri-business and tourism postcards of Fresno County; Poyomi McDarment, whose illustrations, murals and installations center Yokuts women and cultural practices; Emilio Rojas, whose performances, videos, and photography engage queer, postcolonial and border aesthetics; and Pachia Lucy Vang, who explores the connections between HMong paj ntaub and place through her textile practice. In addition to these new works in performance, textiles, printmaking, and installation, Deep Maps will include a selection of Mono and Yokuts baskets on loan from the FCC Anthropology Museum. Together, these works re-introduce concepts of memory, history, longing, grief, time, and possibility into the stories we tell about landscape.

Poyomi McDarment, "Yokuts Mural," Porterville, 2023.

Carissa Garcia and Alek Palacios, process image, "Mother Nature Under Control Carissa Garcia and Alek Palacios, process image, "Mother Nature Under Control," 2024.

Top: Poyomi McDarment, Yokuts Mural, Porterville, CA, 2023. Left: original postcard, Courtesy of Heritage Center, Fresno County Public Library. Right: Carissa Garcia and Alek Palacios, Mother Nature Under Control, in process image, 2024. Courtesy of the artists.

Deep Maps takes place alongside and will center the return of Pa’ashi (also called Tache or Tulare Lake), which translates to big water in the local Tachi (Yokuts) language. This return has brought increased plant and animal life, and renewed conversations about the presence, politics, and importance of water in the Central Valley. Upending settler colonial narratives that the land (and people) can be controlled, and that such a state is permanent, the return of Pa’ashi represents powerful cycles of decline and renewal that move at a pace difficult to perceive over human lifetimes. Ephemeral, vast, and little photographed, the lake was drained in the 19th century and converted to agricultural land - leaving a sparse visual record. This lack of archival visibility has fed the durable and prevailing myth about the Valley as an empty desert, a blank space on which stories from outside can be projected, rather than an interconnected network of waterways and wetlands which supported indigenous communities and animal life. Deep Maps will include a community sourced image archive of the lake as it exists in this long moment, in addition to Library offerings that gather books, articles, maps, and materials addressing this hole in the archive.


   Drawing of a view of Tulare Lake in 1875, depicting boats sailing.   photograph of present-day Tulare Lake, with a landscaping flag in the middle of the composition.

Left: Pa'ashi/Tulare Lake, June 2023. Photo: Elena Harvey Collins. Right:Illustration from the Aug 14, 1898 issue of the San Francisco Call, from an article titled "Tulare Lake Dried Up: Disappearance of the Largest Body of Fresh Water in California." Public Domain, hosted by California Digital Newspaper Collection, Center for Bibliographic Studies and Research, University of California, Riverside. 

Follow this page and @art_space_gallery for updates. 


Carissa Garcia ​is an interdisciplinary artist and cultural worker from Fresno, CA. She considers herself a storyteller in her artistic practice, weaving both decolonial filmmaking methods with oral history and community archive building. As a Eugene Cota Robles fellow at UCLA, she worked for four years on a doctoral degree and currently holds a Masters of Arts degree in Chicana and Chicano Studies with an emphasis in Expressive Arts. While under the mentorship of Judy Baca at the Social and Public Art Resource Center’s Digital Mural Lab, she was trained in Public Art and Community Cultural Development.  She was most recently a co-curator for Boom Oaxaca, a community listening project and exhibition focusing on Indigenous Sovereignty and Food Sovereignty in the Central Valley.   

Alek Palacios is a multimedia Chicano artist, born and raised in Fresno, California. He is currently studying at Fresno City College, majoring in studio arts. Alek explores the emotional spectrum through the use of elements (Wind, Water, Fire, Earth). By bringing his innermost feelings to the forefront, Alek strives to establish a connection between the viewer and himself, in a way that brings a sense of unity in a tumultuous world.

Emilio Rojas is a multidisciplinary artist working primarily with the body in performance, using video, photography, installation, public interventions, and sculpture. As a queer, Latinx immigrant with Indigenous heritage, he engages the postcolonial ethical imperative to uncover, investigate, and make visible and audible undervalued or disparaged sites of knowledge, narratives, and individuals. He utilizes his body in a political and critical way, as an instrument to unearth removed traumas, embodied forms of decolonization, migration, and poetics of space. His research-based practice is heavily influenced by queer and feminist archives, border politics, botanical colonialism, and defaced monuments.  Rojas’ work has been exhibited in exhibitions and festivals in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Japan, Austria, England, Greece, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Holland, Colombia, and Australia, as well as institutions such as the Art Institute and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Ex-Teresa Arte Actual Museum and Museo Tamayo in Mexico City, The Vancouver Art Gallery, The Surrey Art Gallery, The DePaul Art Museum, Mass Moca, The Herbert Johnson Museum and The Botin Foundation. From 2019-2022 Rojas was a Visiting Artist in Residency in the Theater and Performance Department at Bard College and the inaugural resident at Judy Pfaff Foundation. He is currently a full-time visiting critic and Teiger Mentor for the Arts, in the department of Art at the College of Art, Architecture and Planning at Cornell University. Rojas holds an M.F.A. in Performance from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a B.F.A. in Film from Emily Carr University in Vancouver, Canada. 

Pachia Lucy Vang is an artist and curator whose work is informed by a pluriversal imagination that speaks from HMong-centered knowledge. Making paj ntaub (flower cloth), she crafts handmade pieces and installation-based designs that blur the boundaries between traditional and modern to navigate complexities around race, identity, and belonging in displacement. With over ten years of community-based work, Vang has traveled and worked throughout the HMong diaspora in China, Southeast Asia, and the US, creating exhibitions and experiences to recontextualize textiles, history, and culture. She holds an MFA in design from UC Davis and a BA in anthropology from UC Berkeley. She currently teaches at UC Davis and facilitates community-based Paj Ntaub Circles through her studio Culture through Cloth. Vang recently curated the exhibition Cloth as Land: HMong Indigeneity at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. 

Poyomi McDarment is a Yokuts artist, designer, and educator based in Tule River.  She uses her personal experience as a Yokuts woman to create dream-like, feminine illustrations that provide a sense of visual escape. Her mixed-media drawings and murals place Yokuts women, girls, and their culture at the center of the landscape of the San Joaquin Valley and Sierra Nevadas. These works incorporate cultural practices, environmental caretaking traditions, medicinal plants and animal relatives. McDarment also sews and designs swimwear with her project Poyomi Shukwin, and holds a BFA in Animation from the Academy of Art University.

Please join us for two visiting artist talks ahead of Deep Maps:


Pachia Lucy Vang, process image, 2023. Courtesy of the artist.

peb teb, teb peb: a call to land - a visiting artist lecture by Pachia Lucy Vang 

Art Space Gallery (AH101)

March 20, 12:00PM: Free and open to all. 

Please join us for a lecture by visiting artist Pachia Lucy Vang. Vang will discuss process and research in relation to her art, design, and curatorial practice working with Hmong cultural traditions and making paj ntaub (flower cloth).

Image: Pachia Lucy Vang, paj ntaub process image, 2023. Courtesy of the artist.

Emilio Rojas, Go Back To Where You Came From (Santa María Llena Eres de Gracia), 2018. Courtesy of the artist. 

Go back to where you came from! - a visiting artist lecture performance by Emilio Rojas

Art Space Gallery (AH101)

April 3, 6:00PM. Free, 18+, nudity and sensitive content.

Please join us for a multimedia performance lecture titled Go Back Where You Came From, by visiting artist Emilio Rojas. In this non-linear, embodied lecture, Rojas takes this xenophobic phrase as a point of departure, re-directing it to focus on histories of colonization, questioning our relationship with the past to open up spaces for remembrance, repair, and healing. 

Image: Emilio Rojas, Go Back To Where You Came From (Santa María Llena Eres de Gracia), 2018. Courtesy of the artist. 


Deep Maps - Exhibition

Art Space Gallery and Fresno City College Library

August 29 - December 5, 2024.



Additional programming to be announced: 

  • Exhibition opening ceremony 
  • Artist talks 
  • Curator tours 
  • Educational workshops 

Elena Harvey Collins is a British curator, writer, and artist, working with themes of landscape and place and their many outcroppings. She teaches Art History and Exhibitions and since 2017 she has directed the programming at Fresno City College’s Art Space Gallery where she has organized numerous solo projects and collaborations between visiting artists and students, including an immersive restaging of Sofía Córdova’s Underwater Moonlight (days of blood + milk (2023); Shana Moulton (2020); Jibade-Khalil Huffman: Human for Scale, and Liz Roberts: Going Public (2019). Group exhibitions and institutional collaborations include Constellating Care Networks (2021), a community mapping project and exhibition to accompany CSU-Fresno’s presentation of the Brooklyn Museum of Art’s Nobody Promised you Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall; and All Words Have Roots Here (2021), a collaborative exhibition with the FCC & Fresno County Libraries, and American Indian Studies at CSU-Fresno in response to the poetry of Joy Harjo as part of the NEA’s Big Read. 

Cristina Gonzales  is a Chumash museum professional, cultural practitioner, Šmuwič language learner and educator specializing in museum collection research, archeological records, NAGPRA, and tribal consultations. She is a lecturer at CSU-Fresno teaching American Indian Studies, and is the Registrar for the Tachi Yokuts Tribe Santa Rosa Rancheria. She also serves on the California Indian Basketweavers’ Association Board of Directors. 

Linda Kobashigawa is a librarian at FCC, where she manages e-resources, coordinates information literacy instruction services, and teaches in the Library Technology Studies program. For the past year, she has worked under a Title V grant designed to increase the success of Latinx and low-income students and co-led FCC's first National Endowment for the Arts Big Read program. She has been appointed as FCC’s Open Educational Resources liaison to the Academic Senate for CA Community Colleges. Education: M.A. Library and InformationScience.

Carly Tex is a Western Mono traditional basket weaver, linguist, language instructor, community organizer, cultural consultant, and advocate. She is the Executive Director of Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival (AICLS), a language advocacy group dedicated to the reclamation of California Indigenous languages. She facilitates community language classes and works with her elders to learn, document, and maintain the Western Mono language.

Kaya Kirk is a Citizen Potawatomi student at FCC, where she is majoring in Fine Arts with a certificate in American Indian Studies. As an artist, her work has been featured in the Student Showcase Presentation: Off the Wall and Master Painting in 2022, along with many other talented artists in the Summer Arts Program held at Fresno State. Currently, she can be found selling her artwork up and down Fulton Avenue as a part of the ‘Art Hop’ Movement in Fresno, where artists will gather from all over the city to network with the community and sell their work. Ms Kirk is the Deep Maps program assistant.


The term "deep map" is engaged by Osage writer and historian William Least Heat-Moon in his 1991 book PrairyErth, an in-depth account about rural Kansas that reclaims and expands the definition of mapping to include storytelling and lived experience, articulating the ineffable, living complexity and psychogeographies of places and landscapes.

Deep Maps is organized in consultation with the Tachi Santa Rosa Rancheria Cultural Department, and in partneship with the Fresno City College Anthropology Museum. 

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit


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