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World Arts, Local Lives – April

Los Angeles, with its communities from around the world, is a melting pot of traditions and practices. While the museum doors are closed, the Fowler is pleased to offer digital public programs celebrating world arts and cultures. All programs are free. RSVP to receive the link to join.

Curator’s Choice
Join curators for lively conversations about their passions and projects that inspire audiences to engage with different worldviews and find joy in the diversity of human experiences.

David Koppe courtesy of Douglas Reynolds Gallery

Reframing the Past with Meghann O’Brien and Elena Phipps | RSVP
Thursday, April 8, 11 am–12 pm

Meghann O’Brien is a Haida and Kwakwaka’wakw artist whose Chilkat textiles are based on the knowledge and artistic practices of her ancestors. Her projects engage specialized techniques of basketry and weaving, and use mountain goat wool, cedar bark, and other earthly materials to connect to the rhythms and patterns of the natural world. With these materials, she explores issues related to Indigenous fashion and couture, reframing the past and applying it to present-day life. Join the Fowler for a conversation between Meghann O’Brien and textile scholar Elena Phipps about new ways of looking at Indigenous knowledge and creative practice in the realm of textile making.

Meghann O’Brien (b. 1982) is a Northwest Coast weaver from the community of Alert Bay, B.C. Her innovative approach to traditional art forms of basketry and Yelth Koo (Raven’s Tail) and Naaxiin (Chilkat) textile weaving creates a continuity between herself and her ancestors. Meghann now lives in Vancouver, B.C. and is currently exploring the intersection of Indigenous materials and techniques with the world of fashion and 3D printing. She travels globally to lecture and demonstrate her work, yet emphasizes the value of contributing to the contemporary ceremonial practices of the Haida and Kwakwakw’wakw peoples.

Elena Phipps focuses on the history of textile materials and techniques in cultural contexts. She was a textile conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for 34 years and co-curated the award-winning textile exhibitions, The Colonial Andes: Tapestries and Silverwork 1430–1830 (2004) and The Interwoven Globe: Worldwide Textile Trade (2013). In 2013, she curated The Four-Selvaged Peruvian Cloth: Ancient Threads/New Directions for the Fowler Museum. Elena’s most recent publication is “Woven Brilliance” (Textile Museum Journal, 2021). She has served as President of the Textile Society of America (2011–14) and taught in UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Culture/Dance since 2011.

Program recording: “Curator’s Choice: Reframing the Past with Meghann O’Brien and Elena Phipps,” April 8, 2021.

Share the Mic
The Fowler believes in the civic duty of museums to give forum to different points of view. This series shares our platform with thought leaders—artists, activists, and allies—who are guiding us along the arc of justice.

Image credits: (Top left) Kristina Wong. Photo credit: Tom Fowler; (Top right) Image courtesy Karen Mack; (bottom) Martha Gonzalez. Photo credit: Pablo Aguilar

Performing Social Justice Artivism | RSVP
Thursday, April 15, 5–6 pm

Artivism—a word combining art and activism—emerged as part of the vernacular in recent years. As anti-racism protests proliferate, artists are using their work to catalyze political participation and action in ways that move beyond traditional paradigms of activism. Join the Fowler, LA Commons’ Karen Mack, comedian and performance artist Kristina Wong, and Chicana feminist Martha Gonzalez of rock band Quetzal for a conversation about how one can powerfully organize, and engage hearts and minds, by creating a narrative about struggles to promote justice through art.

Karen Mack is founder and Executive Director of LA Commons, an organization dedicated to promoting Los Angeles’ diverse neighborhoods through locally based, interactive, artistic and cultural programming. LA Commons has implemented community art projects, tours, and classes in partnership with organizations such as the Fowler Museum, National Endowment for the Arts, LA Department of Cultural Affairs, and LA County Arts Commission. Mack holds an M.P.A. from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. She is a past president of the board of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative and of the City’s Board of Neighborhood Commissioners.

Martha Gonzalez, Ph.D., is a Chicana Artivista, born and raised in East Los Angeles. She is the lead singer, percussionist, and songwriter for Quetzal—an “East LA Chican@ rock group” that tells the social, cultural, political, and musical stories of people in struggle, rooted in the complex cultural currents of life in the barrio, social activism, and feminist stance. In 2020, she released her book, Chican@ Artivistas: Music, Community and Transborder Tactics in East Los Angeles. In addition, Quetzal just released Puentes Sonoros on Smithsonian Folkways Label. Gonzalez is currently an Associate Professor in the Intercollegiate Department of Chicanx Latinx Studies at SCRIPPS / Claremont Colleges. At UCLA, she majored in Ethnomusicology with a focus on music, dance, and drumming of Ghana and Cuba.

Kristina Wong is a performance artist, comedian, writer, and elected representative whose work has been recognized through many grants, including Creative Capital, COLA Master Artist Fellowship from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, and eight Los Angeles Artist-in-Residence awards. Her long-running show, Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, looked at the high rates of depression and suicide among Asian American women and is now a concert film. Her recent piece, Kristina Wong for Public Office, is a simultaneous real-life stint as the elected representative in Koreatown Los Angeles and campaign rally show. During the pandemic, she founded the Auntie Sewing Squad, a collective of volunteers sewing facemasks for vulnerable communities.

Program recording: “Share the Mic: Social Justice Artivism,” April 15, 2021.

Lunch & Learn
The Fowler’s Lunch & Learn series offers easily digestible explorations of charismatic objects from around the world in our permanent collection. Join us to chew on some sustenance and feed your mind during your lunch break.

Samuel François (b. unknown, Port-au-Prince, Haiti), Lasiren and Ezili of the Waters, 1999; cardboard, sequins, beads, glitter, plastic dolls, wigs; Fowler Museum at UCLA, X2007.5.1; Gift of Marilyn Houlberg

Love Divinities in Vodou Art | RSVP
Monday, April 19, 12:00–12:30 pm

Join Katherine Smith, the Fowler’s Curatorial and Research Associate of Haitian Art, as she explores an altar assemblage by sculptor Samuel François. Based in Port-au-Prince, François apprenticed under the renowned artist Pierrot Barra, who made famous the Vodou-inspired, found-objects sculptures, which he sold at the downtown Iron Market. François’ work is characterized by a bright, pop aesthetic exemplified in his 1999 homage to two female deities of love. Learn about the religious and historical aspects of this radiant masterpiece.

This program is generously supported by a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc.

Katherine Smith, Ph.D., is the Fowler’s Curatorial and Research Associate of Haitian Art and a Lecturer in the Departments of World Arts and Cultures/Dance and Art History at UCLA. Her research explores the intersection of art, religion, and urban migration in Haiti and the Black Atlantic.

Program recording: “Lunch & Learn: Love Divinities in Vodou Art,” April 19, 2021.

Share the Mic
The Fowler believes in the civic duty of museums to give forum to different points of view. This series shares our platform with thought leaders—artists, activists, and allies—who are guiding us along the arc of justice.

“There are more pieces of microplastic in the ocean than stars in the milky way” – Benjamin Von Wong. #Plastikophobia, 2019.

The Art of Trash with Benjamin Von Wong | RSVP
Thursday, April 22, 11 am–12 pm

In honor of Earth Day, the Fowler is proud to co-present a special program with Rogue Agency that celebrates the work of photographer, installation artist, and environmental activist Benjamin Von Wong. Benjamin’s images, which regularly go “viral,” combine everyday recycled objects with shocking statistics, generating over 100 million views and inspiring action on such urgent concerns as ocean plastics, electronic waste, and fashion pollution. Join the Fowler and Maddy Pryor, Founder and CEO of Rogue Agency, for a conversation with Benjamin about intersections of sustainability and art, how crises can catalyze growth, and how one can measure the impact of art and activism.

Benjamin Von Wong’s work lies at the intersection of fantasy and photography. He is a well-known environmental activist, keynote speaker, and host of the Impact Everywhere podcast, in which he interviews a wide range of guests, from NASA scientists to local artists and entrepreneurs. His photography has attracted the attention of corporations like Starbucks, Dell, and Nike. Most recently, he was named one of Adweek‘s 11 Branded Content Masterminds. He is a creative advisor for the Ocean Plastic Leadership Network and the Sustainable Ocean Alliance.

Rogue Agency is a creative agency dedicated to amplifying the voices of purpose-driven brands and organizations through compelling digital campaigns and authentic brand storytelling. They represent clients who are committed to innovation, representation, sustainability, equity, and general goodness. Rogue is committed to nurturing a diverse stable of intersectional artists and activists who stand for something and create for change, pairing those creators with the brands and organizations they serve.

Program recording: “The Art of Trash with Benjamin Von Wong,” April 22, 2021.

DISRUPT the Fowler
DISRUPT is a UCLA student design organization that aims to establish inclusive spaces and create opportunities for students of all backgrounds to engage in creative collaborations. The Fowler is honored to partner with DISRUPT to offer programs that break down barriers in the art world and promote innovative ideation through inclusivity, diversity, equity, and accessibility.

Eric Hu. NikeLab, Brand identity. 2018. Image courtesy Eric Hu.

Eric Hu | RSVP
Tuesday, April 27, 4–5 pm

Eric Hu is a DISRUPTOR in the fields of branding, graphic design, and typography. Inspired by the diverse aesthetic influences offered by the City of Los Angeles, he has built an international reputation for pairing maximalist image-making with typographic nuance.

After serving as the Global Design Director at Nike and Director of Design at SSENSE, Hu launched his creative consultancy and design practice, Eric Hu studio. As the studio’s art director, he pairs his creative vision and experience with clients in the fashion, music, architecture, and technology spaces. Join the Fowler and DISRUPT for a glimpse at Hu’s work and a conversation about how he pushes the bounds of experimental graphic design and disrupts corporate identities in the creation of new visual languages.

Program recording: “DISRUPT the Fowler: Eric Hu,” April 27, 2021.

Global Cuisine Cooking Lessons
Variety is the spice of life. Learn how LA’s favorite international restaurants cook up their most famous, easy-to-make dishes in live cooking classes led by their chefs on Zoom. When food is your love language, some secrets are too good not to share.

Chifa LA | RSVP
Thursday, April 29, 5–6 pm

LA is buzzing about Chifa LA, the hip new Peruvian/Chinese/Taiwainese restaurant in Eagle Rock with lots of flair. An intergenerational family affair, it goes back to the original Chifa: a Cantonese restaurant run by the matriarch in Lima, Peru, in the 1970s. Join the Fowler and Head Chef John Liu to learn how to make vegetarian Tacu Tacu with a fried egg and salsa criolla, a simple Peruvian dish that stems from North Africa. While this dish is typically eaten at breakfast, it’s delicious at any time of day. Ingredient list will be sent upon RSVP. Come with supplies prepared and ready to cook!

Program recording: “Global Cuisine Cooking Lessons: Chifa LA,” April 29, 2021.

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