Ancestral Futurism: Looking Back to Repair the Future

Ancestral Futurism: Looking Back to Repair the Future

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Ancestral Futurism is a temporary art installation in the Presidio Tunnel Tops that honors the diversity and interconnectedness of all humans, land, flora and fauna that have lived in this ecosystem throughout the centuries. Created by artist and activist Favianna Rodriguez, the multi-site art installation depicts a vision for an interconnected future that begins with examining the colonial and repressive history of the Presidio. The artistic renderings uplift the stories, experiences, and images of BIPOC communities with an emphasis on the Ramaytush Ohlone, the original stewards of the land. Abstract symbols reflect plants and creatures that were once abundant in the region. Additionally, the themes of justice, freedom, and belonging are weaved throughout the artwork.

The temporary ground murals are located along primary entrances to the Presidio Tunnel Tops near the Visitor Center and the Outpost Plaza. A temporary banner is on display in the Presidio Plaza on the wall of the Presidio Transit Center. A series of wayfinding “breadcrumbs'' are installed along pathways and primary routes leading into Presidio Tunnel Tops.

The art installations were designed and art directed by Favianna Rodriguez, an interdisciplinary artist, cultural strategist and social activist who also serves as an inaugural Presidio Activator. An important goal of the artwork is to spur conversations and ideas about how the Presidio can be repositioned as a place of welcome, inclusion, and belonging for all people and communities. Art is a language that can bridge communities and perspectives. The colorful and vivid approach is designed to disrupt the historic narratives of the Presidio, in order to welcome those who have traditionally not visited or felt especially welcome, particularly BIPOC communities.

The core concepts for the work were developed in consultation with the Presidio Activator Council, Community Experts, Native leaders, and tri-agency park staff.

This project serves as a pilot to shape a new public art program for emerging BIPOC artists to develop temporary art installations throughout the Presidio Tunnel Tops. The project launches in Fall 2022 and will run in its first iteration through 2023. Rodriguez will serve as a coach and mentor to support artists in translating their ideas to temporary public art installations that speak to diverse communities.

The project will launch in conjunction with Opening Season activations co-curated with the Presidio Activator Council, a group of community leaders, activists, and organizers tasked with developing events and activities that create a sense of belonging and connection to the Presidio for groups that have historically felt unwelcome in national parks. Opening Season activations include an Environmental Justice Summit by Hip Hop for Change, Food as Medicine Workshops by Deep Medicine Circle, Access to Adventure Day for those in the accessibility community, and much more.

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