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Talk / Lecture

Artist Conversation: Ysamur Flores-Peña and Patrisse Cullors

April 6, 2024 | 2:30PM - 4:00PM

The Forum, Otis College of Art and Design
9045 Lincoln Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90045


Join us for a conversation with Ysamur Flores-Peña and Patrisse Cullors, advisors to the Fowler exhibition The House Was Too Small: Yoruba Sacred Arts of Africa and Beyond. Their discussion will focus on gender and sexuality in the pantheon of divinities (orichas/orixas/orishas) worshiped and venerated in Yoruba belief. 

Described as spirits, personified natural forces, or deified ancestors, orichas/orixas/orishas in Yoruba religion are featured prominently in sculpture and other art forms throughout the Black Atlantic. Though human-like in character and visually represented as female or male-presenting, the orishas are not confined to binary logic: they can embody both the female and male aspects, or be genderless.

Light refreshments will be served after the conversation.

Ysmaur Flores-Peña is a respected elder and keeper of the Lucumí traditions, as well as an associate professor in the Liberal Art and Sciences Department at Otis College of Art and Design. Flores-Peña has published on Lucumí culture, ritual aesthetics, and identity construction within Lucumí narratives, rituals, arts, and theology. His studies focus on African-based religions in the New World. He has earned an MA and a PhD in folklore at UCLA; an MA in education at the Catholic University of Puerto Rico; and a BA in Hispanic studies at the University of Puerto Rico.

Patrisse Cullors is a New York Times bestselling author, educator, artist, and abolitionist from Los Angeles, CA. Her work has been featured at The Broad, the Hammer Museum, the Fowler Museum at UCLA, MOCA, and a host of theaters, galleries, and museums across the globe. In 2020, she and fellow artists noé olivas and ali reza dorriz established Crenshaw Dairy Mart, an artist collective and gallery space that bridges cultural work and advocacy. Her current work and practice focus on what she calls “Abolitionist Aesthetics.” Cullors is an Ifa practitioner who blends spirit and abolition in her everyday life. Her mission is to grow toward abolition through intergenerational healing work that centers love, collective care, and art.

This program is co-sponsored by the Fowler Museum at UCLA and Otis College of Art and Design.

This program is funded by the Nissan Foundation and co-sponsored by the Center for Religion and Cities at Morgan State University, supported by the Henry Luce Foundation. Co-curation of this program is part of Patrisse Cullors’ artist residency at the Fowler Museum in 2023-24. 

Photo courtesy of Ysamur Flores-Peña
Patrisse Cullors photo credit: Star Montana

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