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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'


RESUME (Click here for pdf format)


Primary areas of interest – Muralism, Public Art, Community Art Practices, Trauma Informed Art Workshops, Chicanx/Mexica/Indigenous History and Culture, Community Engagement.


1992-Present: Art Instructor for youth in juvenile facilities including: 

Central Juvenile Hall

Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall

Camp Afflerbaugh

Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall

Ventura County Juvenile Justice

LAC Dorothy Kirby Center

Camp Glenn Rockey

Challenger Memorial Youth Center

Camp Joseph Scott 

Camp David Gonzales


2020-2021: Adjunct Professor 

University of Redlands 


1990-Present: Arts Instructor and Muralist

Armory Center of the Arts (Ceramics, Life Drawing)

Barrio Youth Action

Academia Semillas del Pueblo

Ventura County Arts Council

Felicitas & Gonzalo Mendez High School

Indigenous Education Now! 

Ventura County Indian Education Consortium 

Self Help Graphics

Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory

Home Boy Art Academy 

Pitzer College

Getty Marrow Interns

Lancaster Museum of Art

California State University, Channel Islands

Belmont High School

Youth Action Party

Mendocino County Youth Project

Youth Policy Institute

Academia Avance Foreign Exchange Program

Migrant Education Program

El Monte Trinity

LACC Upward Bound Program

Los Angeles Center for Educational Research

Joseph Le Conte Middle School 

LA Theatre Works

100 Murals Project



2023 CHANNEL ISLANDS MARITIME MUSEUM, OXNARD CA - “Brotherhood of the Tomol” 20’x70’

2023 CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY CHANNEL ISLANDS - Ethnic Studies Reading Room signage 

2021 PITZER COLLEGE, CLAREMONT CA - Series of three murals preserving Tongva oral tradition with Julia Bogony

2020 UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS - with Think Indian Native Student Program, Desert Sage youth program

2019 CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY CHANNEL ISLANDS - “The Dreamer that flowed like El Rio and became the Ocean” 10’x25’

2019 VENTURA COUNTY -  “Flower and Song of Luz Maria” 15x25, commissioned by Ventura County Arts Council

2018 OXNARD JUVENILE HALL, OXNARD CA - “Freedom is the Choice to Our Future” 25’x60’ commissioned by the Ventura County Arts Council

2018 CHICANO PARK, SAN DIEGO CA - “Crying Tlaloc” 

2018 ARKANSAS - “Tierra y Libertad” at Northwest Arkansas Workers Center

2017 CAMP ROCKEY JUVENILE FACILITY - “Camp Rockey Fire Crew” 23’ x 55’

2017 MUJERES Y HOMBRES PAU, LOS ANGELES, CA - “We Need more Love in this World of Hate” 12’ x 20’ 

2016 EL SERENO COMMUNITY GARDEN, LOS ANGELES, CA - “Creation Story” 15’ x 20 Installation 

2014 MID-CITY LOS ANGELES - “Atomic Peace” 20’ x 35’ Commissioned by Hal Halford


2023 RED EARTH GAZE - Indigenous Art Show at Angels Gate Cultural Center 

2021 LAND IS KIN - Indigenous Art Show 


2019-2017 INTO ACTION TRAVELING SHOW - “Sanctuary” Los Angeles, San Diego & Chicago 

2016 EXHIBIT AT SELF-HELP GRAPHICS - Titled “From Ferguson to Ayotzinapa” 


2014 “GENETIC STORMS OF AN AILING PLANET” Espacio 1839 Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, CA 



2023 CALIFORNIA CREATIVE CORPS ARTIST FELLOWSHIP - California Arts Council, Administered by Community Partners

2023 CULTURE BEARER AWARD - California Arts Council, via the Center for Cultural Power

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