Native Landmarks at Fresno State
Henry Madden Library
The Madden Library is often visited by Fresno State students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community members annually. Since its opening, it has welcomed over 12 million visitors! What people do not know is that the Henry Madden Library is heavily inspired and represents Native American culture and natural elements.
Table Mountain Rancheria Tower, a five story Elliptical Tower, and Grand Staircase were all inspired by Native American basket weaving.
The Library was strategically designed to reflect it’s rich Native American Heritage. Custom fabrics were used for the upholstered lounge and upright chairs. These fabrics were inspired by Native American basket patterns such as the deer hoof, butterfly and stair-step. Designs took about 18 months to develop.
The grand staircase is covered in woven, stainless steel mesh honoring Table Mountain’s basket-making tradition. The stairs also reflect the mountains of the region and symbolize the journey of learning.
Mosaic glass artist Erin Adams created three lighting pieces in the Starbucks seating area on the second floor that incorporate the basket weaving theme.
The Table Mountain Rancheria Reading Room on the third floor has an 11-panel, nine-foot by 30-foot glass mural that tells the history of Table Mountain Rancheria.
Leon S. Peters Gallery showcases Native American baskets, sculptures, photography, and framed artwork. On your next visit, take some time to enjoy this incredible artwork!
Lady in Red
Many may notice the large moving image of a woman in red but may not know the story behind this installation. What they are witnessing is the world’s longest art performance, the first of its kind in the U.S. The 700 foot tall LED curtain displays Lois Conner, a North Fork Mono artist, weaving a basket from start to finish over the course of 12 months. Her devotion to her craft reflects the commitment that students and faculty make every day on campus.“Making a basket is a responsibility for me. For students, it’s a responsibility to get your education,” Conner said. “We’re both quietly working. The students are studying. I’m up there and working, and we both have a goal in mind and that’s finishing.”The basket she is weaving is an gambling basket which is displayed inside the library!
Native Plant Garden
Native Plant Garden, just outside the tower and north of the library’s main entrance. This no-irrigation, organic garden features river sage, redbud trees, deer grass and other critical ingredients in the basket weaving process. Names of the plants and tools are etched into the granite walls in three languages: Mono, Gashow and English.
Every year the Center for Creativity and the Arts (CCA) presents an art installation based on a particular theme. The 2017 theme is Native Communities: Tradition & Innovation. The CCA has chosen Cannupa Hanska Luger for 2017 artist in residence. Cannupa Hanska Luger is a multi- media and multidisciplinary Native American artist whose works aim to tell provocative stories of complex Indigenous issues.
The artist will be created a life size cast of Buffalo skull forms, intended to represent Indigenous people’s prosperity. The art piece contains approximately 10 ceramic life size Buffalo skulls stacked as a pillar form with a metal pipe infrastructure that’s bolted onto a concrete base in the ground. The height of sculpture is approximately 7.5' from the ground. Located in the Conley Art lawn.
The Buffalo heads, with assistance from students, is decorated with beadwork in various colors representing minerals and other resource materials extracted from sacred lands in America.