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Special Event

Opening Program: The House Was Too Small

October 28, 2023 | 5:00PM - 9:00PM



On the occasion of the Fowler’s 60th Anniversary, The House Was Too Small: Yoruba Sacred Arts from Africa and Beyond will open with a special live performance by artist and abolitionist Patrisse Cullors from 5–6 pm. After the performance, enjoy a party at the Fowler from 6–9 pm with DJ Adé, cocktails, and a performance by choreographer Kati Hernández and KimBambula, her Cuban dance and music ensemble, which includes Afimaye Galarraga, Shana Christopher, Jannet Galdamez, Felicia “Onyi” Richards, and Lester Bolaños.

Please note that guests will be screened by a metal detector upon EACH ENTRY to the museum. 
No large bags will be allowed or checked inside the museum.
Thank you.

Opening Performance 5–6 pm | Off-site

Patrisse Cullors’ latest performance, Ori Whispers, is a celebration of the power and strength of the Black Femme Ori (one’s head and spiritual center). Ten Black femmes will move in procession from the UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Gardens to the Fowler Amphitheater. Wearing white garments, the women will be bound together by a single braid connecting each of their Ori. With hands full of efun (white chalk) they will slowly walk through UCLA campus and down to the Fowler amphitheater, where one of the women will greet the audience chanting a prayer to their Ori.

Guests may follow the procession from its outset in the Botanical Garden main entrance or join in at 5:30 pm, as performers make their way down the UCLA Staircase (Janss Steps) to the Fowler amphitheater for the culmination of the performance outside. A route map will be available online.

In the Ifa tradition our Ori is ones charm to all successes. Through the whispers of their grace and transformation, behold the reverence of a community that has been challenged, and always rises. Our Ori is our savior. Aśe ooooooooooo  —Patrisse Cullors

Artists in procession: Patrisse Cullors, Autumn Breon, Indigo Mateo, Jade Ross, Siana Walker, Cindy Bonaparte, Avriel Epps, Lily Epps, Octavia Abram, Ashley Blakeney. Singer, artist, and birthworker Jade Ross sings an ori chant. Hair provided by NurTured Natural Hair & Locs, courtesy of Nyasha and Stefani Bralock McCoy. Spiritual garments worn by performers made from white vintage fabric and dead stock by Maya Dahlgreen. Spiritual garment worn by Patrisse Cullors, made by NorBlack NorWhite.

Special thanks to the UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden staff.

This program is co-sponsored by the Center for Religion and Cities at Morgan State University, supported by the Henry Luce Foundation. Additional support provided by the Center for Art and Abolition. This opening night performance and Cullors new installation ‘Free Us’ are sponsored in part by The Broad Art Foundation and USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture.


Cuban Dance 6:30–7:30 pm | Fowler Courtyard
Dancer Kati Hernández will open her performance with Eleggua, a piece that animates orishas (divinities) from the Yoruba pantheon in the Afro-Cuban tradition. Accompanied by members of KimBambula, her Cuban dance and music ensemble, Hernández will dance in the role of Elegua, orisha of the crossroads. Sometimes represented as a child, and sometimes as an old man, Elegua symbolizes the beginning and end of life, and the opening and closing of paths.

About the artists

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 Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Frieze LA, Hammer Museum, Fowler Museum at UCLA, and a host of theaters, galleries, and museums across the globe. Patrisse has won numerous awards for her art and activism. In 2020, she launched a one-of-a-kind, online MFA Program at Prescott College. She also launched the Crenshaw Dairy Mart with fellow artists noé olivas and ali reza dorriz. Her current work and practice focus on what she calls “Abolitionist Aesthetics,” a term she coined to help challenge artists and cultural workers to aestheticize abolition. Cullors is an Ifa practitioner who blends spirit and abolition in her everyday life. Her mission is to invite all of us to grow toward abolition through intergenerational healing work that centers love, collective care, and art.

A native of Cuba, Kati Hernández grew up surrounded by the sounds of the drum and Afro-Cuban dance traditions. Her studies of Afro-Cuban and international folklore, popular and modern dances, ballet, choreography, composition, and staging gave shape to the dancer, educator, and electrifying choreographer she is today. Her deep knowledge and versatility make her a highly sought-after performer. She launched her international career at an early age, touring throughout Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas with renowned Cuban productions, musicians, and visual artists.

Hernández founded a pioneering online dance and music program that preserves and promotes Cuban culture worldwide and seeks to create vibrant cross-cultural communities. She is also the founder and artistic director of KimBambula Cuban Dance and Music Ensemble, and co-founder of KimBambula Productions. Hernández flows between public and academic venues, teaching dance classes, offering intensive seminars, and lecturing at colleges, dance studios, and congresses around the US. She has worked with dance and music departments at CalArts, UC Irvine, University of Oregon, and Pomona College, and is a yearly guest instructor at the top Cuban dance festivals in the nation.


Admission to the Fowler is free
Parking: UCLA Lot 4 | Westwood Plaza off Sunset Blvd | $3/hr
Rideshare drop-off: 305 Royce Dr, off Sunset Blvd

Images: (L) Artist(s) unknown (Yoruba peoples, Nigeria), Ogo elegba (dance wand), collected prior to 1958; wood, cowrie shells, leather, indigo; Fowler Museum at UCLA, X64.311 (R) Patrisse Cullors, still image from They Are With Us: Oya in the Grove, 2023; video directed by Maxwell Addae; cinematography by Samudranil Chatterjee

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