"We rarely know what motivates somebody in their work, and it's usually a particular moment in their life. For me, that moment is my brother's incarceration and the ways in which this country has decided to neglect, abuse, and sometimes torture people with severe mental illness, especially if they're black."

- Patrisse Cullors

Works from Past and Present

Artist Portfolio

Patrisse Cullors’ art is a magnifying glass, an amplified moment in the raw and vulnerable stories of the invisible. Using theatre techniques, performance, audio, and movement, her works render bare the narratives of state-induced trauma while lifting up a path towards healing. Her work ultimately asks the audience to identify themselves in relationship to various forms of violence, be it coded in silence behind jail walls or in the coming out stories of people of color. Wielding discomfort as her medium, art becomes an invitation to shed complicity and engage broader questions of systemic violence and spiritual rejuvenation.

Trained in Theater of the Oppressed and dance, Patrisse has worked as a artist resident, dancer, choreographer, designer, stylist, producer, and director in various productions since 2005. Patrisse completed her MFA at the University of Southern California in 2019.

Prayer to the lyami

2020

Title: It’s Dangerous Times, We Have To Be Connected

Year: February 28, 2020
Media: Image
Image Credit: Giovanni Solis

Title: Fuck White Supremacy, Let’s Get Free at the Frieze LA 2020

Year: 2020
Media: Photo
Image Credit: Giovanni Solis

Title: Prayer to Iyami for Allegories of flight, The Broad

Year: 2020
Media: Photo
Image Credit: Giovanni Solis

𝑷𝒓𝒂𝒚𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑰𝒚𝒂𝒎𝒊, a piece where Patrisse used her older brother Monte’s clothes to build a tapestry of wings. Her witnesses gathered around her as she carried the 20-pound wings as a marker of the 20-year fight to keep her brother free from incarceration and abuse.

Patrisse led the procession to an 8-foot wide nest where she carefully arranged more of Monte’s used clothing to embellish the structure. The score featured James Baldwin speaking about the American Negro crisis and Cullors’ reading of the #YesOnR ballot measure.

This piece is a love letter to Los Angeles and, most importantly, a loving prayer for her brother Monte. 📸: Timothy Norris // @thebroadmusem

Play Video

Title: Knot

Year: May 18, 2019
Media: Performance Art
Image Credit: Giovanni Solis

Title: Respite, Reprieve, and Healing: an Evening of Cleansing

Year: 2019
Media: Photo
Image Credit: Giovanni Solis

As a Black queer woman living inside a world that is constantly trying to kill me… “Respite, Reprieve, and Healing: An Evening of Cleansing” is my latest work for my 2019 thesis solo show. Elements of performance, live music, sculpture and improvisation is the artistic foundation of this piece. I’m tired, and I’ve been tired for a very long time.

When 13 Black performers said yes to getting being apart of my piece – Hair Wash- I feel nothing but gratitude. Black hair is sacred. We don’t let anyone touch our crowns. Brianna Mims held the kind of space and gentleness as our hair washer. Each person was a magic portal into the world of the diaspora. We used honey and coconut milk and salt to set the intention. To hold the container. And the rope. The rope ties our Ori together. One hive mind. Healing together.

As a Black queer woman living inside a world that is constantly trying to kill me… “Respite, Reprieve, and Healing: An Evening of Cleansing” is my latest work for my 2019 thesis solo show. Elements of performance, live music, sculpture and improvisation is the artistic foundation of this piece. I’m tired, and I’ve been tired for a a very long time.

Play Video

Title: Malcom X Revisited

Year: June 2016
Media: Video Art
Performance Directed by Patrisse Cullors
Performers: Aaryn Lang. Brayan Gonzalez, Prentis Hemphill
Video Credit: Created by and co produced by Maxwell Addae