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The House Was Too Small: Yoruba Sacred Arts from Africa and Beyond

The House Was Too Small: Yoruba Sacred Arts from Africa and Beyond

October 29, 2023–February 7, 2024

Explore the virtual exhibition below:

Featuring more than 100 remarkable works from Nigeria, Benin, Brazil, Cuba, and the United States, this exhibition highlights pan-Yoruba theological principles as expressed through a variety of art forms including sculpture, beadwork, and ritual costume design. Juxtaposing material representations of West African Òrìṣàs (divinities) with those of diasporic Afro-Brazilian Orixás and Afro-Cuban Orichas, the exhibition will illustrate key conceptual and aesthetic continuities across the Yoruba Atlantic as well as regional innovations.

Artist and abolitionist Patrisse Cullors will contribute a live performance and an installation titled Free Us, a multimedia work that unveils the resilience of these pan-Atlantic Yoruba divinities.

PRESS RELEASE: The House Was Too Small: Yoruba Sacred Arts from Africa and Beyond

The House Was Too Small was organized by the Fowler Museum and curatorial coordinators Erica P. Jones and Patrick A. Polk. The curatorial advisors on the exhibition are Rowland Abiodun (John C. Newton Professor of Art History and Black Studies, Amherst College); Roberto Conduru (Endowed Distinguished Professor of Art History, SMU); Patrisse Cullors (artist, author, abolitionist); Oluwo’Nla Irawoifa, aka Amos Dyson (Ifa Temple Otura Tukaa); Oluwo’Nla Fakolade, aka Jahsun Edmonds (Idin Kaa Ifa Temple); Awo Falokun Fasegun, aka Earl White (Ile Orunmila Afedefeyo); Ysamur Flores-Peña (associate professor, Otis School of Art); Erica P. Jones (senior curator of African arts and manager of curatorial affairs, Fowler Museum); Elizabeth Pérez (associate professor of religion, UCSB); and Patrick A. Polk (senior curator of Latin American and Caribbean popular arts, Fowler Museum). 

Lead support comes from The Martha and Avrum Bluming Exhibition Fund and Lilly Endowment Inc. Generous support is also provided by the Marla C. Berns Exhibition Endowment, Doran H. Ross Fund for African Exhibitions, Fay Bettye Green Fund, and the George R. and Nancy L. Ellis Endowment Fund. Additional generous support is provided by Mark Kalmansohn, and Linda R. Kunik and Rodney Millar. Educational programs are funded by the Nissan Foundation and Lilly Endowment Inc.



Image: 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

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