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Ene Osteraas-Constable collaborating with Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park

Award: $35,000 Visual Arts grant awarded in 2004

Completed: Spring 2006

Ene Osteraas-Constable collaborated with Holly Alonso and Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park to create California Native, a permanent art installation that illustrates stories of the people and plants that were native to the Fruitvale District of Oakland.

She developed six sculptures through historical research, interviews, and photography. They feature imagery and text and are nestled among the plants in the Park’s native plants garden. Their rounded forms incorporate photographs etched in stone or rendered in ceramic enamel. Accompanying text provides deeper understanding of how local Native Americans relied on particular plants for food, medicine, and tools.

The Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park was formed in 1975 by residents of the Fruitvale District of Oakland. The Friends lobbied for state and local funding that enabled the City of Oakland to establish a park, parcel by parcel, over the course of 22 years. The six-acre site was the former headquarters of Rancho San Antonio and features the historic 1870 Antonio Peralta House. The Friends have continued to develop exhibits and landscaping that evokes the site’s history and brings together contemporary residents.  Today the park is at the heart of a diverse, low-income community with the largest Native American population in the San Francisco Bay Area and includes descendants of the original East Bay tribes.

Ene Osteraas-Constable uses photography to explore interrelationships among people, food, and the land. Prior to this project, she had been working on “Common Ground,” documenting different gardening practices of the groups that garden on the grounds at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park. She also is a partner in the award-winning artist team of Wowhaus.