Cruising Turtle Island
63.5 x 97.3 cm (25 x 38 5/16 in.)
Gilbert Luján (aka Magú Luján)
(French Camp, California, 1940 - 2011, Los Angeles, California)
Medium and Support:
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of Gilberto Cárdenas, 2017
In "Cruising Turtle Island", Gilbert Luján—a member of Los Four, a foundational art collective in Los Angeles—explores the concept of Aztlán, the ancestral home of the Aztecs and the spiritual home of the Chicanx community. Many Indigenous groups in North America believed the world was suspended on the back of a mythic turtle. Activists defending Indigenous rights began calling the Americas “Turtle Island.” Luján imagines this place as an enclave with Mesoamerican-style temples in the shape of howling dogs and an ancient warrior driving a low-rider car crowned by Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent god.