Calendar of Events


Jun 6, 2019 at 9:30 am

UC San Diego Unveils Sculpture by Kumeyaay Artist


All are invited to attend the unveiling of a new sculpture by Kumeyaay artist Johnny Bear Contreras. The reception will take place from 9:30-11:30 a.m. on June 6, which will include California Indian bird singers, a blessing and a reception. The artwork, called “When the World Comes to Life,” is comprised of two large aluminum panels that will be attached to the west wall of Stewart Commons in Muir Quad.

The three-dimensional metal panels are layered with intricately cut figures, plants and birds in both abstract and representational styles. On one side, individuals are intertwined, almost as if they are dancing. As the male and female forms meet in the middle, they become more androgynous, representing the gender spectrum, family and community. The second panel features traditional Kumeyaay bird singers with their gourds. Marine plants and aquatic flowers flow between them, signifying the importance of the sea to many indigenous people, particularly in the local region.

The sculpture is the first artwork on campus by a Native American artist, and acknowledges that the university is located on the traditional territory and homelands of the Kumeyaay Nation. San Diego County is home to approximately 18 American Indian reservations—more than any other county in the United States. The project was set in motion when two UC San Diego undergraduate students, Alexandra Harbert and Roy Velasquez, decided they wanted to see more art around Muir College. Their initial goal was to find an indigenous artist and to incorporate messages that were meaningful to students on campus.

Event Website

Date and Time

Jun 6, 2019 at 9:30 am


Stewart Commons, Muir College Quad

Event Registration

Registration is not required for this event.

Event Fee



Alexandra Harbert


Faculty, Staff, Students, The General Public

Event Host

Muir College

Event Category

Concerts, Performances and Exhibitions