I Dreamed I Could Fly

Media - 2014.44 - SAAM-2014.44_1 - 116691
Copied Carlos Almaraz, I Dreamed I Could Fly, 1986, pastel on paper, 44 × 30 in. (111.8 × 76.2 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Margery and Maurice H. Katz, 2014.44, © 1986, Carlos Almaraz Estate

Artwork Details

I Dreamed I Could Fly
Not on view
44 × 30 in. (111.8 × 76.2 cm)
© 1986, Carlos Almaraz Estate
Credit Line
Gift of Margery and Maurice H. Katz
Mediums Description
pastel on paper
  • State of being — phenomenon — dream
Object Number

Artwork Description

In the 1980s, Carlos Almaraz shifted from overtly political artwork to more private and spiritual themes. With paintings and pastels like I Dreamed I Could Fly, he developed a personal visual language of objects and animals, presented as narrative scenes, or, as in this case, a swirl of dreamlike remembrances. These elements, drawn from his daily life in Los Angeles and from childhood memories, often reference the Catholic traditions and indigenous folklore of Mexico. Throughout these intimate, psychological works and his earlier large-scale public murals, Almaraz's bicultural Mexican American identity was a powerful source of inspiration. He was a founding member of Los Four, an art collective created in 1973, that advocated for recognition of Chicano artists and for social justice causes, supporting the protests of Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, and the United Farm Workers union.