Wilkinson College’s Escalette Collection is delighted to announce a gift from the Ellingson Family to support its goal of building an inclusive permanent collection. For the past three years, annual donations from the Ellingsons have allowed the Escalette to expand targeted areas of the Collection. This year’s gift was used to acquire work by Native American and indigenous artists from the Southern California region. The new acquisitions include photography, painting, prints, and sculpture by Gerald Clarke, Katie Dorame, Mercedes Dorame, River Garza, Cara Romero, and Laurie Steelink.

An exhibition of this work is on view in Roosevelt Hall as part of Wilkinson College’s Engaging the World: Leading the Conversation on the Significance of Ethnic Studies initiative. This exhibition, titled WE WERE THEN, WE ARE NOW, was curated by students in Dr. Fiona Shen’s First-Year Foundations class last semester..

Read more about the exhibition here.

Gerald Clarke, One Tract Mind: Baskets, digital photograph printed on canvas, 2009. Purchased with funds from the Ellingson Family.

Gerald Clarke 

Gerald Clarke is an interdisciplinary artist and Professor of Ethnic Studies at UC Riverside. Using various found and created materials, Gerald challenges stereotypical ideas of contemporary Native American art. The two works in the Escalette Collection capture Gerald’s use of humor and satire to confront social and political issues in the United States from a decolonial perspective. Gerald Clarke came to campus during the Fall 2022 semester as part of Wilkinson College’s Engaging the World: Ethnic Studies series.

Read more about Gerald’s work here.
Watch Gerald’s lecture here.

Katie Dorame, L.A. Overseer, inkjet print of digitized collage and watercolor painting, 2020. Purchased with funds from the Ellingson Family.

Katie Dorame

Katie Dorame is an interdisciplinary artist of Tongva heritage. The Escalette Collection acquired several works from her CA Collages series, which

incorporates images taken from textbooks, art auction catalogs, magazines, and found photographs to investigate how representation contributes to the myth-making surrounding Native American culture and the Southern California landscape.

Read more about Katie’s work here.

Mercedes Dorame, Our House Made of Spiderwebs – ‘Eyookin Wereechey, archival pigment print, 2018. Purchased with funds from the Ellingson Family.

Mercedes Dorame

Mercedes Dorame is a Tongva artist who uses mainly photography and installations to create interventions in the Southern California landscape. Recreating aspects of traditional Tongva ceremonies, Mercedes seeks to reclaim and recontextualize Indigenous land. The two works acquired by the Escalette Collection of Art feature a red string – a detail used in nearly all of Mercedes’ works that encompasses and extends beyond the visible space.

Read more about Mercedes’ work here.




River Garza, Pow wow round 2, acrylic, marker, spray paint, color pencil, and enamel on paper, 2019. Purchased with funds from the Ellingson Family.

River Garza

River Garza is a Tongva artist based in Los Angeles. Inspired by Southern Californian indigenous maritime culture, skateboarding, graffiti, and Low Rider culture, River disrupts stereotypical representations of Native American and indigenous culture. Complicating these representations with layers of paint and traditional mark-making, River asserts visual sovereignty and raises awareness of the Tongva in Southern California.

Read more about River’s work here.



Cara Romero, Naomi, photograph printed on Legacy Platine paper, 2017. Purchased with funds from the Ellingson Family.

Cara Romero

Cara Romero is a photographer and member of the Chemehuevi Indian tribe. Through her work, Cara combats static representations of Native American culture and replaces them with photographs that share the rich and diverse experiences of Native American people living today. One of the works in the Escalette Collection by Cara Romero is part of her First American Girl series, which celebrates the traditional knowledge that Native American women have sustained through generations into today.

Read more about Cara’s work here.




Laurie Steelink, The Mothership II, archival digital print with acrylic paint, ink, and sewn sea beads, 2021. Purchased with funds from the Ellingson Family.

Laurie Steelink

Laurie Steelink is an interdisciplinary artist and founder of Cornelius Projects, a contemporary art gallery in San Pedro, CA. Using sculpture, printmaking, photography, and installation work, Laurie captures the experience of reconnecting with her Akimel O’otham heritage. The two works acquired by the Escalette Collection are a print and sculpture made from deconstructed paintings made early in her career that have been transformed (or have shape-shifted) into new works.

Learn more about Laurie’s work here.