Patrisse performed Knot, an exploration of how gang culture surrounded Nipsey Hussle, at the FORM festival in June of 2019.
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 // @thebroadmuseum
First performed in 2019 as Fuck White Supremacy, Let’s Get Free, Cullors’s performance for Frieze Los Angeles invites participants to move together united by a groove and the freeing act of dancing the electric slide.
Led by Cullors, and with a live DJ, the dancers wore headphones and move together silently through the back lot. The performance was held daily during the fair and accompanied by video documentation in a storefront with merchandise and information in support of the non-profit foundations Reform L.A. Jails and Black Lives Matter.
This solo 2013 performance piece featured Patrisse displaying enlarged copies of the envelopes and letters that she and her father exchanged while he was in prison. After a series of emotional correspondence, the last envelope she presents is addressed to the heavens. Patrisse’s father died in 2009 just months after he was released from prison. Their relationship developed within the confines of his incarceration, a situation that ultimately contributed to his death. Pushing the Envelope also served as a way for Patrisse to give more agency to herself and her father.
“I say that him being incarcerated most of his life killed him. I say that because folks who are on the inside age and their life span is over much earlier than those who are able to live on the outside and a healthy life. This piece is dedicated to him, it’s dedicated to me, it’s kind of like an ode to our relationship and it’s about giving me more agency to say ‘goodbye father and thank you for everything you’ve given me.’ He spent most of his life behind bars, I spent most of my life writing him while he was behind bars, so it was a really powerful piece for us.”
Watch a collection of performances including a short clip of Pushing the Envelope:
“Respite, Reprieve, and Healing: An Evening of Cleansing” was Patrisse’s 2019 thesis solo show. Elements of performance, live music, sculpture, and improvisation is the artistic foundation of this piece. Patrisse states, “I’m tired, and I’ve been tired for a very long time.”
When thirteen Black performers said yes to being part of her piece, “Hair Wash”, she felt nothing but gratitude. “Black hair is sacred. We don’t let anyone touch our crowns,” says Cullors.
Brianna Mims held the kind of space and gentleness required as the hair washer. Each person was a magic portal into the world of the diaspora. They used honey and coconut milk and salt to set the intention. To hold the container. And the rope. The rope ties their Ori together. One hive mind. Healing together.
RESIST is a 12 part docu-series coproduced by Patrisse and directed by Tani Ikeda, Mobolaji Olambiwonnu, and Nathalie Johns in partnership with digital media company blackpills.
The series follows the grassroots work of Los Angeles organizations fighting the county’s $3.5 billion jail expansion plan.
Primarily focusing on the work of Patrisse and other members of JusticeLA including Jayda Rasberry of Dignity and Power Now, Helen Jones of Dignity and Power Now and Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, Bambi Salcedo of TransLatina Coalition, and Johnathan Perez of Immigrant Youth Coalition, the series is a beautiful and inspiring look into the motivations and daily struggles of movement workers on the ground.
In August 2017, two weeks after the attacks in Charlottesville and on the 226th anniversary of the Haitian revolution, Patrisse performed “Remembering ’92,” a moving tribute not only to lives lost and movements sparked in the 1992 Los Angeles Uprising, but also to revolutionary Black people fighting oppression and building power throughout history.
Taking place at the California African American Museum among their No Justice, No Peace: LA 1992 exhibit and with the musical accompaniment of Kimya Dawson’s “At the Seams”, Patrisse led a solemn funeral procession before using her body and a collection of protest signs to express a series of other events and emotions.
The performance was followed by a Q&A with Patrisse and the exhibit curator Tyree Boyd-Pates.
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.
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.