Sky Hopinka: Seeing and Seen

Sky Hopinka’s visually striking and linguistically rich films, photographs, and poetry, explore the layered nature of contemporary Indigenous experience. A member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and descendent of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, Hopinka’s deeply personal work teases out legacies of both colonial oppression and Native resistance, illuminating continuities between past and present, the known and unknowable.

Seeing and Seen brings together works exploring both the relationships between the carceral and settler colonial history of the United States— and also that which evades those systems of capture. Cloudless Egress of Summer, 2019, for instance, traces the fraught prison history of Fort Marion in Florida in the 1800s while Dislocation Blues, 2017, poetically documents the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in 2016-17. These films make visible the links between the carceral past and present, and they also reveal that captivity (like history) is always incomplete. Hopinka weaves images, text, and soundscapes in these and other works until prisons become oceans, a protested pipeline forms a bridge, and freedom is shown as both uncontained and uncontainable.

Sky Hopinka: Seeing and Seen is a multi-sited exhibition, and a newly commissioned video, Sunflower Siege Engine, 2022, is on view at the San José Museum of Art. It is curated by Gina Dent, Lauren Schell Dickens, and Rachel Nelson as part of Visualizing Abolition, a multi-year initiative exploring art, prisons, and justice. See for more information.


  • Institute of the Arts and Sciences Galleries
    100 Panetta Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

    • Attend in person
    • Free and open to the public
    • Ongoing exhibition: Feb 5, 2023—Apr 16, 2023
    • Gallery hours: Tuesday—Sunday, 12:00–5:00 p.m.
  • San José Museum of Art 
    110 South Market St, San José, CA 95113

image credit: Sky Hopinka, Cloudless Blue Egress of Summer (still), 2019.

Sunday, April 16, 2023 at 12:00pm to 5:00pm

Institute of Arts and Sciences 100 Panetta Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

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