Totem For Us

‘Totem For Us’ was built from 100 items collected from every neighborhood of Sacramento, painted white and assembled by 100 high school students to create an entirely new sculpture.

Constructed as a physical representation of all 8 City of Sacramento Districts, as well as the County of Sacramento, it was localized at the Crocker Art Museum; built by high school 100 students attending the Summer At City Hall program. This assemblage sculpture reflects the beating heart of Sacramento, demonstrating how it moves and grows.

The piece works to bring attention to the idea that single parts make up a whole, with each part as important as the next. Collected by both the youth and different members of the community are items that have meaning to them as an individual, but the sculpture creates meaning for the group as a whole. It began its’ creation in a fractured way, with the selection of an item selfishly, and then comes together and works towards creating one collective structure. All 100 items were described by different members of the communities where the items came from, written down on paper and given to the students, requiring them to put themselves in the minds of the individuals from other communities within their city. After determining which item they believe is being described on the paper given to them, they chose the item and added it to the sculpture. Everyone wanted it to be something that worked for them, but had to put aside their own desires and needs and work together, finally agreeing on how their item will become a part of the bigger picture. 
This is the essence of how communities are built.

The name, ‘A Totem For Us’, was given by one of the participants choosing to highlight his own cultural background as an American Indian.

After its’ temporary display at the Crocker, it was then moved to the Sacramento City Hall and displayed in the lobby.