Shellmounds are large scale earthworks composed of shell midden deposits. They are the oldest archaeological evidence of human settlement in the Bay Area. Estimated at over 6,000 years old, they are a starting point from which to consider the creative and collaborative work that continues today.
About This Article
As part of Take This Hammer: Art + Media from the Bay Area, curated by Christian L. Frock for Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (March 11 – August 14, 2016) the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism developed a timeline for the Bay Area’s history of art and media activism. On display in the YBCA gallery, the timeline is represented as a collection of one hundred and twenty stories arranged like a row of books on a library shelf. Starting with “SHELLMOUNDS,” the earliest evidence of human settlement in Bay Area, each title represents a creative work, event, organization, movement, history or biography that has played a role in shaping the particular qualities of Bay Area art and media activism.
In trying to survey our past, these are just a few of the countless stories we have to draw upon. We cannot tell them all since not all books will fit on one shelf. However, we hope that viewers will enjoy browsing this collection and be reminded of the deep roots of creativity, diversity, love and political liberation that have made the Bay Area so special. We have made our selections in the spirit of James Baldwin and Take This Hammer in order to highlight stories of uncompromising clarity and courageous artistic vision.