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Press Release: Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas: The Blessings of the Mystery and Sadie Barnette: Family Business

Opening of new exhibitions at UC Santa Cruz’s Institute of the Arts and Sciences brings innovative, socially engaged art to the Central Coast 

Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas: The Blessings of the Mystery and Sadie Barnette: Family Business, a multi-sited exhibition with the San José Museum of Art, will be on view at the Institute of the Arts and Sciences April 28 – September 3, 2023.

Opening Celebration: May 5, 2023, 6 – 8 p.m. 

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – (April 5, 2023) California Central Coast’s newest art space, UC Santa Cruz’s Institute of the Arts and Sciences (IAS), is bringing vital energy to the art and culture of the region with the opening of two new exhibitions this spring.

Carolina Caycedo and David De Rozas: The Blessings of the Mystery is a multidisciplinary exhibition drawn from the artists’ research into the carceral, cultural, scientific, industrial, and economic forces that shape landscapes from West Texas to the Central Coast of California. The exhibition is curated by Professor Gina Dent, Dr. Rachel Nelson, and Luke A. Fidler. 

At the core of the exhibition is The Teachings of the Hands, a single-channel film that depicts complex histories of colonization, migration, and ecological precarity in “Somi Se’k,” the “Land of the Sun” (also known as Texas). Told from the perspective of Juan Mancias, Chairman of the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe, the film weaves scenes from the present day together with the distant past in order to explore issues of environmental justice and Indigenous rights and cosmologies. Creatively mapping the impacts of industry, infrastructure, and private property in Texas, the larger exhibition expands upon the themes within the film, and includes drawings, collages, original 1930s watercolors by artists and amateur archaeologists Forrest and Lula Kirkland, as well as an immersive installation of surveying tools. A new sculptural installation maps the histories of the Monterey Bay region by tracking the ways in which land has been divided according to agricultural, urban and carceral systems.

Sadie Barnette: Family Business, a multi-sited exhibition organized with the San José Museum of Art (SJMA), explores the artist’s family history to reveal the personal—and shared—experience of Black repression and resistance in the United States. It is curated by Professor Gina Dent, Dr. Rachel Nelson, and Lauren Schell Dickens, SJMA chief curator. 

At the Institute of the Arts and Sciences, the exhibition centers on Barnette’s FBI Drawings, a series of works drawn from the 500-page FBI surveillance file amassed on the artist’s father, Rodney Barnette, founder of the Compton, California chapter of the Black Panther Party. Barnette creates monumental and painstaking graphite drawings of these clinical documents, covering them with roses and Hello Kitty profiles, effectively smothering records of state-sanctioned terror with Black power and joy. A new wallpaper installation expands on these themes.

“From Caycedo and de Rozas powerful work, which extends our perception of incarceration to consider how landscapes and bodies of water have also been caught into systems of capture, to Sadie Barnette’s work about her family history as it relates to collective stories of struggle and liberation, these are powerful artworks,” explains Professor Gina Dent, co-director of Visualizing Abolition. “We hope they challenge people to think about the consequences of how we have normalized carcerality––and to begin to think of other ways we could organize society.”

At SJMA, Barnette has created an intimate installation around a newly commissioned video. Amid a fantasy domestic setting, complete with a sofa covered in glitter vinyl, walls papered with repeating patterns, and glowing pink lights, the newly commissioned video draws on her existing strategies of archival manipulation by combining manipulated family footage with a propulsive drum score. The installation materializes and proposes an alternate history of Black America outside of state control, a history made from flourishing relationships, love, family, celebration, and hope; the very things omitted from official documents of surveillance and repression. 

Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas: The Blessings of the Mystery and Sadie Barnette: Family Business are part of the major public scholarship program, Visualizing Abolition, an ongoing initiative exploring art, prisons, and justice. Visualizing Abolition highlights the creative work underway by artists, activists, and scholars to imagine alternatives to current injustices. Visualizing Abolition is organized by UCSC Professor Gina Dent and Dr. Rachel Nelson, director of IAS, in partnership with Lauren Schell Dickens, SJMA chief curator.

The new commissions and exhibitions enliven the conversations central to Visualizing Abolition about prisons, their histories, and their impacts. Both exhibitions will open at IAS on April 28, 2023, and following an opening reception on May 5, 2023 they will remain on view until September 3, 2023. The SJMA exhibition is on view from March 10, 2023 through October 15, 2023.

Image Credit: “Projects: Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas,” June 18, 2022 -January 2, 2023. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Digital Image © 2022 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo Emile Askey

Upcoming public programs taking place throughout the spring at IAS include: 

April 8, 2023 | 2:00-3:00pm: Curator Walkthrough with Luke A. Fidler 

Curtator Luke A. Fidler, will lead a walkthrough of the two current exhibitions, Ashley Hunt: Degrees of Visibility/Ashes Ashes and Sky Hopinka: Seeing and Seen, contextualizing key artworks and their larger themes within Visualizing Abolition. 

April 11, 2023 | 7:00-8:30pm: Sky Hopinka Film Screening: maɬni – towards the ocean, towards the shore 

Sky Hopinka’s ground-breaking documentary film, maɬni (pronounced moth-nee) – towards the ocean, towards the shore will be shown free to the public at the Del Mar Theatre in Santa Cruz. The vital work speaks to ongoing effects of colonial displacement and violence.

April 12, 2023 | 6:00pm: Worlds Without Boundaries: A Conversation with Sky Hopinka and Leanne Betasamoke Simpson

This event will be a public conversation between artist Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk Nation/Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians) and Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar Leanne Betasamosake Simpson,  presented in conjunction with the multi-sited exhibition Sky Hopinka: Seeing and Seen.

April 13, 2023 | 7:00pm: SJMA COUSIN Collective Film Screening at San Jose Museum of Art

An  evening of short film screenings by the COUSIN collective, selected and introduced by Sky Hopinka. COUSIN was founded in 2018 by Sky Hopinka, Adam Khalil, Alexandra Lazarowich, and Adam Piron, and provides support for Indigenous artists, expanding traditional definitions and understandings of the moving image by experimenting with form and genre.

April 14, 2023 | 9:00am & April 15 | 6:00pm: Visualizing Premodern Abolition Symposium 

This symposium brings together specialists in a variety of cultures and disciplines to explore problems of abolition in relation to premodern literary, material, and visual culture. Registration required.

April 21, 2023 | 6:00-7:00pm: MAH Curator Talk with Rachel Nelson & Luke A. Fidler, The Writing on the Wall

Curators Rachel Nelson and Luke A. Fidler, from UCSC’s Institute of the Arts and Sciences, will talk about the MAH’s current exhibition The Writing on the Wall, which recreates these largely unseen spaces—such as a prison cell—in a public sphere.

May 5, 2023 | 6:00-8:00pm: Opening Reception for Sadie Barnette: Family Business and Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas: The Blessings of the Mystery

Join us for the public opening of the Institute of the Arts and Sciences spring exhibitions. Artists Carolina Caycedo, David de Rozas and Sadie Barnette will be present during the celebration.

May 6, 2023 | 2:00-3:00pm: Carolina Caycedo & David de Rozas: Artists’ Talk

Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas will convene for an artists’ talk about their exhibition The Blessings of the Mystery, on display at the Institute of the Arts and Sciences Galleries until September 3, 2023.

June 8, 2023: Terri Lyne Carrington presents Music For Abolition (details forthcoming). 

About the Artists

Carolina Caycedo is a multidisciplinary artist known for her performances, video, artist’s books, sculptures and installations that examine environmental and social issues. She has held residencies at the DAAD in Berlin and The Huntington in San Marino; and received funding from Creative Capital and Prince Claus Fund. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at Museum of Modern Art, New York (2022); Ballroom Marfa, TX (2022); BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (2022); Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2021); and Institute of Contemporary Art Boston (2020). Caycedo has been featured in group exhibitions at Serpentine Galleries, London (2022); El Museo del Barrio, New York (2021); Museo de Arte São Paulo (2019); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2019); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2018); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA (2017); and Seoul Museum of Art, South Korea (2017).

David de Rozas is a multidisciplinary artist and award-winning filmmaker whose practice merges experimental documentary and contemporary art forms, revisiting and relocating the politics of memory. De Rozas’ films have been screened in festivals and film curated series worldwide, such as Visions du Réel, Sheffield Doc/Fest, True/False, and Kassel DocFest. He directed and produced GIVE (2018), winning seven international awards including Best Short Documentary at FullFrame and Best Experimental at the Smithsonian African American Film Festival. The film was nationally broadcasted on P.O.V. and nominated for an Emmy under the Documentary Outstanding New Approaches category in 2019. David de Rozas is currently working on Here We Is, a new body of work that focuses on Downtown Los Angeles’ current explosive development and its history of community erasures.

Sadie Barnette is from Oakland, CA, where she currently lives and works. Barnette has a BFA from CalArts and an MFA from University of California, San Diego. She has been awarded grants and residencies by The Studio Museum in Harlem, Art Matters, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Headlands Center for the Arts, and the Carmago Foundation in France. She has enjoyed solo shows in the following public institutions: ICA Los Angeles, The Lab and the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco; MCA San Diego; the Manetti Shrem Museum, UC Davis; the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College; and The Kitchen in New York. Her work is in many permanent collections, including the San José Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Pérez Art Museum, Guggenheim Museum, Oakland Museum of California, Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Walker Art Center, as well as a permanent, site-specific commission at the Los Angeles International Airport forthcoming in 2024.


The Institute of the Arts and Sciences Galleries are located at 100 Panetta Avenue, on the westside of Santa Cruz and are open Tuesday-Sunday, 12pm-5pm. Admission is free to the public. More information at

San José Museum of Art is located at 110 S Market St in downtown San José. SJMA is open Thursday: 4–9pm, Friday: 11am–9pm, Saturday–Sunday: 11am–6pm. More information at


Visualizing Abolition is a public scholarship initiative at the Institute of the Arts and Sciences featuring art exhibitions, public events, artist commissions, a music series, postdoctoral fellowships, graduate student workshops, and curriculum development. These programs are designed to foster creative research and to shift the social attachment to prisons through art and education.

Working across prison borders in all aspects of the initiative, and in collaboration with current and formerly incarcerated people, as well as those without that lived experience, the overarching goal is to change the narrative that links prisons to justice, contributing instead to the unfolding collective story and alternative imagining underway to create a future free of prisons.

Visualizing Abolition is organized by Gina Dent and Rachel Nelson, with support from the Mellon Foundation. Music for Abolition is curated by Terri Lyne Carrington.


Located in the city of Santa Cruz, the Institute of the Arts and Sciences Galleries are a vital new arts hub for the region. As the keystone public galleries at UC Santa Cruz, the Institute of the Arts and Sciences presents a unique vision for the arts at the forefront of social transformation. Drawing on the resources of a leading research university, the world-class exhibitions at the IAS engage the most critical issues of our time, catalyzing meaningful encounters with the arts and ideas.


The San José Museum of Art (SJMA) is a modern and contemporary art museum dedicated to inclusivity, new thinking, and visionary ideas. Founded in 1969 by artists and community leaders, its dynamic exhibitions, collection, and programs resonate with defining characteristics of San José and the Silicon Valley—from its rich diversity to its hallmark innovative ethos. The Museum offers lifelong learning for school children and their educators, multigenerational families, creative adults, university students and faculty, and community groups. SJMA is committed to being a borderless museum, essential to creative life throughout the diverse communities of San José and beyond.

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