The Artist Joe Galarza of Genetic Windsongs
“I use art as a decolonizing tool to educate and heal Intergenerational Trauma.” --Joe Galarza
Joe Galarza is a Xica-indio visual artist and musician raised in the El Sereno neighborhood on the east side of Los Angeles, CA. He grew up in an economically-disadvantaged community where he was exposed to the violence of poverty, drugs and gangs at an early age. As a result, Joe used his childhood experiences in East LA to educate at-risk youth on the healing power of combining Art, Music and culture to combat societal oppression and intergenerational trauma.
Currently, Joe teaches art and music at correctional facilities, universities, community centers and emergent sites of collective action like Standing Rock. He also performs in the internationally renowned music group “Aztlan Underground'' which he has been a member of since 1993. Joe began playing bass guitar at age 17, and has since toured the world including Native reservations across the United States and venues in Spain, France, Australia, Venezuela and Canada utilizing music as a tool to educate and empower marginalized communities. His festival performances also include the Adelaide Festival of the Arts in Australia, Under the Volcano in Vancouver, Canada, World Youth Festival in Venezuela, 18th St. Studios’ “War as a Way of Life,” X-Games at the Staples Center in 2005, “Smoke Out” 2001 in Los Angeles, FNX First Nation Experience Studio 49 2019 and many others.
Joe has opened for Manu Chao, Rage Against the Machine, Maldita Vecindad, Fermin Muguruza, Control Machete, Todos Tus Muertos. He has also shared the stage with Mos Def, KRS-One, Malo, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, and Medusa, among countless other incredible and respected musicians.
In addition to the Bass, Joe also composes using native instrumentation such as wooden and clay flutes, drums, and rattles. He also played with Soul Conference, an experimental jazz fusion project and views collaboration across cultures and genres as fundamental to celebrating diversity and solidarity.
Joe’s current projects include “Genetic Windsongs Murals”, that uses visual storytelling to record indigenous oral traditions. His experiences with art and education have also led him to teach in correctional facilities and afterschool programs with at-risk youth at Camp Rockey , Afflerbaugh Juvenile Hall , Paige Juvenile Hall and Los Angeles County Facilities as well as Ventura County CYA facilities . As an artist in residence in various indigenous communities, Joe was also invited to create a visual history of each community by gathering stories passed down through oral tradition. Placing stories in a visual and historical context through mural work let him to work on projects at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Pine Hill Indian Reservation, Pinoleville Pomo Indian Reservation and presently with Tongva Elder Julia Bogany and fellow artist Violet Luxton at Pitzer College to preserve Tongva women’s history and raise awareness for murdered and missing indigenous women.
Joe’s indigenous family background is Penatuka Numunu /Tepehuan Odami Nations. He strives to preserve and celebrate the diverse cultures of indigenous people of the so-called “Americas” through art and music as well as provoke questions and address urban social issues like the conditions he overcame in East Los Angeles. Joe strives to bring resources through the arts that can serve as an alternative to destructive paths.
In Joe’s words, “Without awareness of history, we cannot grow individually or as a community. By knowing the past, we can have a foundation for the future with dignity, self-knowledge, and pride. By showing that I came from the same place these youth are struggling at, my goal is to share with them that they can change through self-determination for the better despite any odds.”
Joe Galarza is currently working on a one-man multi-media exhibit to show the spectrum of his work called “The Colonized Colonizer'
PERTINENT WORK EXPERIENCE
Primary areas of interest – Art as a Weapon, Muralism, Community Art Practices, Trauma Informed Art Workshops, Chicanx/Mexica/Indigenous History and Culture, Music as Decolonizing Praxis, Community Engagement as Movement Building
Arts Education and Workshops:
2023 Channel Islands Maritime Museum
Lead Artist for Mural with Ventura Arts Council
2021 Panorama City CDRC
Lead Instructor / Foundational Art Lessons
2021 Afflerbaugh Juvenile Hall
Lead Instuctor , Muralist
2020 Redlands University
Professor / Art and Activism
2019 Channel Islands University Mural at University Hall
Lead artist and researcher for Michele Serros Mural documenting her Life story through archival writing and art
2019 Redlands University Mural for Think Indian Program Lead artist/muralist in collaboration with Desert Sage
2019 Homeboy Industries
Inter-generational trauma informed art workshop
2019 Camp Rockey Juvenile Hall
Lead Artist for Mural with Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory
2018 Self-Help Graphics
Lead Artist For 100 Year Anniversary of LA Philharmonic / Ciclavia and
Day of The Dead ceremony
2018 Commissioned Hand Drum Painted for Dolores Huerta of the United Farmworkers and given to Carlos Santana.
2018 Camp Rockey Juvenile Detention Center Mural with AIYN/ Armory Center for the Arts
2018 Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall
Compound Mural - Lead Artist with youth serving life sentence
2017 Pitzer College Lecture and Mural
Lead muralist and instructor, Preservation of Tongva Culture through Muralism as a New Form of Oral Tradition’s with Elder Julia Bagony.
2017 Camp Challenger Juvenile Detention Center Art instructor and muralist
2016 Camp Scott Juvenile Detention Center Art instructor and muralist
2016 Camp Gonzalez Juvenile Detention Center Lead art instructor and muralist
2016 Pitzer College Muralist and instructor
Tongva Tribal history and Tongva preservance “Tongva Medicine” With Scott Scoggings and Tongva Elder Consultant Julia Bagony
2015 Self-Help Graphics
Muralist Instructor for La Causa Eastside Sol Event
2015 Self-Help Graphics
Printing Art Instructor, Soy Artista Workshops with Youth
2015 Pitzer Collage Mural
Muralist Instructor and lecture series in Ethnic Studies class
“Genetic Future” with Professor Anthony Francoso.
2014 Pitzer College Art Lecture and Mural
Lecture series in Ethnic Studies focused on Colonization and Resistance
2014 Youth Action Party and Mendocino County Youth Project Muralist Instructor for Native Pomo youth project
2014 Youth policy Institute, Academia Avance Urban Art Instructor
2014 Academia Avance Foreign Exchange Program
Silk screening Instructor - summer youth program for Students from China
2012 Migrant Education Program, 1st Street Elementary School Art & Drawing Instructor
2012 Youth Policy Institute, LA International Charter School Urban Art Instructor
2010 Migrant Education Program, 1st Street Elementary School Art & Drawing Instructor
2009 Mujeres y Hombres East LA PAU Mural Instructor
2008 Mujeres y Hombres East LA PAU Mural Instructor
2008 El Monte Trinity Drawing Instructor
2007 LACC Upward Bound Program Ceramics and Drawing Instructor
2007 Barrio Youth Action
Coordinator/Instructor for the El Sereno Community Garden
2006 Belmont High School, Los Angeles, CA Instructor/Muralist
2005-2003 Academia Semillas del Pueblo, Los Angeles, CA Instructor/ Multi-media Arts Instructor
2003-2001 Barrio Action Artist Residency "Sin Palabra no Existimos" Instructor in collective design
2001-1998 Los Angeles Center for Educational Research
Instructor for King Middle School After school program paper mache instructor
1998 LA Theater Works Community Educational Centers
Instructor Compton Boulevard, Hope Center CEC-Paper Mache Mask
1998 Mesa Redonda de la Cultura Subterranea a la Cultura de la Resistencia, Multiforo Alicia, Districto Federal, Mexico City, Mexico
Representative of Xicano Records and Film
Round Table discussion with university students/activists, community organizers on role of art and music in community and education.
1998 100 Murals Project, Toland Way Elementary School, Los Angeles, CA. Mural instructor