River Tikwi Garza (b.1994, Los Angeles,CA) is a Los Angeles based artist that was raised in Gardena,California a city in the South Bay region of LA. Garza is of Indigenous and Mexican descent, he is Tongva and is a member of Ti’at Society. Garza’s work draws on traditional Indigenous aesthetics, Southern California Indigenous maritime culture, Graffiti, Xicanx culture, and the Los Angeles urban experience. Garza received his undergraduate education from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He earned his degree in Gender, Ethnic, and Multicultural Studies and is currently working on a MA in Sociology. Garza integrates his Western education into the art he produces by creating work that aims to challenge the Indian mystique, his work plays on cultural cliches, Hollywood’s “celluloid indian”, and the political/cultural climate of both Indian country and mainstream society.
“The art I produce is inseparable from my Indigenous heritage. I am an amalgamation and byproduct of resistance, forced assimilation, and resettlement. My family is Tongva and we have called Los Angeles home since time immemorial. I grew up within my tribal community and was exposed to our traditional maritime customs and ancestral beliefs since birth. Being able to understand who I am and where my people come from is a privilege, but it’s one that my community continues to fight for. My family’s connection to Ti’at society fostered my understanding of who we are and where we are going. My community grounds me and is inseparable from the art I produce. I consider myself a community member above anything else. The art i make is an extension of what my family and tribal community have done since time immemorial. I embrace the creative spirit of my ancestors and strive to create meaningful work that pushes boundaries and centers the complexity of modern indigenous life and issues.”