seattle, black experience, state violence, resilience

POWER: From the Mouths of the Occupied Seattle

In October of 2016, Patrisse brought Power…


From the Mouths of the Occupied to Seattle, a city often referred to as “progressive.”


Yirim Seck, Faisal Provincial, KT, Hodan Hassan, Monique Franklin, Akilah Franklin, Jah-Vi’ “SJS” Cotten-Cohia, Luzviminda Uzuri “Lulu” Carpenter, and Marcel Baugh told personal stories highlighting their experiences with local state violence and their resilience as Black people.


The cast performed 3 sold-out shows with rave reviews from the media including The Stranger, The Seattle Times, The South Seattle Emerald, and many others.


Malcolm X, Black Lives Matter, protecting Black lives

Malcolm Revisited

Patrisse and FOREMOST curated Malcolm Revisited, a tribute to freedom fighter Malcolm X.

This series of workshops, live performance pieces, and visual exhibits explored the life, legacy, and impact of this iconic historical figure, as well as his influence on the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Featuring powerful retrospectives from Prentis Hemphill, Aaryn Lang, and Brayan Gonzalez, the performance explored Malcolm’s effect on each person individually as well as collectively.

#BlackLivesMatter has pushed the country to have a new conversation about what it means to protect Black lives.

Art allows for conversations to happen across generations, gender, race and ability. This piece served as a contribution to #BlackLivesMatter, Malcolm X, and the past and current freedom fighters in this movement.

hate, white supremacy, Black identity


“HateisHateisHate” is Patrisse Cullors’ new art piece that expresses the challenges Black people face in a world of white supremacy.

Using 42 pages of hate mail and the FBI’s new Black identity extremism report, Patrisse developed an interactive installation where participants had the opportunity to follow recorded instructions in Patrisse’s voice.


They were asked to cut out words and statements and paste them onto butcher paper.

“Trauma is interesting to me not because of the pain it causes but rather the opportunity that arises from it,” says Cullors.


This piece is about hate and what we get out of it, how it is birthed, where it comes from, the ingredients of hate, why it exists, how it’s fostered, can and how we can transform it. Patrisse is interested in the impact hate has on our body and psyche.


She investigates how racism, homophobia, and transphobia aren’t just disruptive because of the ways they lock us out of structures, but also because they create an “other” and the other becomes dehumanized. Then, the process of dehumanizing allows us to cause violence and harm.


There is also a materiality to hate that interests Patrisse because she continues to witness the underbelly of society. She sees the impact it has on those who receive the vitriol on a daily basis.


She says about the piece, “I’m curious about how its shaping me, if i can beat it back, or is it just about succumbing to the reality? I want to dig into this shit, because maybe it’s the only way I feel like I have agency.”

racial trauma, social justice, queer, people of color, trans

AN EVENING WITH WARRIORS: Speaking the Unspoken

In July of 2013 Patrisse curated a pop-up piece performed outdoors on a U-Haul truck called “Warriors: Dressed in Queer, Cloaked in Now.”

Six months later at Highways Performance Space that piece had evolved into “An Evening With Warriors: Speaking the Unspoken.”

Often overshadowed by racial trauma and her brother’s jail trauma, Patrisse wanted a venue to express her and others’ queer trauma through a social justice and intersectional lens.

The performance highlights the stories of four queer and trans people of color – stories that are often untold. An “Evening With Warriors” brought family, friends, and strangers together to share in their stories.

Watch the post-performance Q&A below:

Los Angeles County Jail, Los Angeles County Sherrif’s Department, jail abuse

STAINED: An Intimate Portrayal of State Violence

In 2012 the ACLU launched a class action lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for abuses in the jail system.

Having read the 86-page report, Patrisse decided to create a performance art piece that highlighted her brother’s story of being brutalized in the county jail while dissolving the disconnect between the conditions inside custody and the community outside.

That piece became “STAINED: An Intimate Portrayal of State Violence,” a powerful and intimate performance where mere caution tape separated the audience and artists. A recording of Patrisse’s voice could be heard reading correspondence between her mother and brother detailing the beatings he was forced to endure.

Meanwhile, several people could be seen within the caution tape boundary displaying various behaviors from push-ups and escape attempts to laughing and crying uncontrollably.

The group would occasionally turn to the monotonous task of wheatpasting the ACLU’s jail abuse lawsuit to the wall. The piece stained the audience profoundly. After leaving the performance, viewers were unable to wash their hands clean of the abuse incarcerated people experience.

“STAINED” toured for a year around Los Angeles County – and ignited a movement. Audiences wanted to do more than watch the piece; they wanted to change the county jail system. The Coalition to End Sheriff Violence was born. Watch the performance below:

Robert Deutsch/USA Today

USA Today | Fighting for Eric Garner’s Justice

Eric Garner didn’t get justice in our system. Let’s build one in which others do.

July 17, 2019. USA Today. Eric Garner died at the hands of a police officer choking him on July 17, 2014. Although he pleaded for his life, his death is one more in a rapidly-increasing line-up of proof that the police state needs reform now. 5 years later, in this poignant piece, Patrisse remembers his death and discusses the justice system overhaul that still needs to take place to keep people like Garner safe. 

Image Credit: Tim Hardy Photography

Forging Territories: San Diego Art Institute

Kicking Off Opening Night at the Forging Territories Exhibit

Patrisse helped led the procession to the exhibition space on opening night for Forging Territories: Queer Afro & Latinx Contemporary Art, held from June 29, 2019 to November 3, 2019. The exhibit was curated by Ruben Esparza at the San Diego Art Institute. Although Patrisse only performed for one night, her performance set the tone for the entire exhibition which sought to celebrate beauty and life in spite of the hate and trauma experienced due to racial inequality. 

For this performance, Patrisse painted her entire body with gold paint and added chakra colors, giving the impression that she was a human statue. She wanted to emphasize that Black people are more than just their trauma. During the procession, she wanted to help viewers think about the borders, journeys, and scars that have been left on Black people and their bodies — but also that there is light and hope. 

Patrisse said in an interview with McCall: “I am very interested in the idea that even inside of the pain and inside of the trauma and inside of the government that is intentionally making us feel helpless, there is a place inside all of us where we are still alive.”

In alignment with much of Patrisse’s goals in her art and activism, this piece reflected how she sees beauty and joy amongst the hate, continuing to give her hope in creating change.