*An enthusiastic crowd was present for the Axé Bahia Opening Day Program at the Fowler Museum, Sunday, September 24, 2017. The program was held from 12:00pm-4:00pm.
This was a fun-filled afternoon of family-friendly inter-active activities to celebrate the opening of Axé Bahia: The Power of Art in an Afro-Brazilian Metropolis. The exhibition features more than 100 works from the mid-20th century to the present.
The crowd and I gathered in the Davis Courtyard on this beautiful, sunny day in Southern California. In no time, we were whisked away visually, to Bahia for an afternoon ritual blessing of the exhibition space by esteemed Candomblé elder Dona Ci Ci. We sat in silence as Dona Ci Ci aided by Awo Fasegun and Linda Yudin (Viver Brasil) performed the sacred ceremony. Awo Fasegun blessed the occassion in the Yoruba language.
Award-winning LA-based dance company Viver Brasil, added to our appreciation of the ceremony. Viver Brasil sustain the legacy of Afro-Brazilian dance, music and culture through performance, education, community and cultural engagement. They recently celebrated their 20th Anniversary at a sold-out show at the Ford Theatres in Los Angeles.
Viver Brasil led the crowd in an energetic, high-octane Samba showcase to conclude the Ritual Blessing of Axé Bahia.
Axé Bahia exhibit curators Patrick A. Polk, Roberto Condru, Sabrina Gledhill and Randall Johnson were excellent and engaging during the walk through of the exhibition. They spoke eloquently and answered questions about the exhibit to enhance our understanding of this marvelous exhibition.
Guest were invited to showcase their artistic skills to create a collaged landscape honoring Los Angeles’s sister city, Salvador, Bahia. Material was available so that families could combine a drawing with images from books and magazines to illustrate a hybrid skyline of LA and Salvador.
This inter-active event was followed by artist Fran Siegel tour and discussion about her exhibition Lineage through Landscape: Tracing Egun in Brazil.
You still have plenty of time to visit the Fowler Museum on the campus of UCLA to view these amazing exhibitions. There are additional events held in conjunction with the exhibits. For more information visit www.fowler.ucla.edu #axebahiapstala and #pstala Twitter, Instagram Facebook @fowlermuseum
Axé Bahia explores the distinctive cultural role of the city of Salvador, the coastal capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia. Since the 1940s, Salvador has been an internationally renowned center of Afro-Brazilian culture, and it remains an important hub of African-inspired artistic practices in Latin America. This exhibition is the most comprehensive presentation of Bahian arts to date in the U.S., and features the work of such modernists as Mário Cravo Neto, Rubem Valentim, and Pierre Verger, as well as contemporary artists Rommulo Vieira Conceição, Caetano Dias, Helemozão, Ayrson Heráclito, and others. Axé Bahia features more than 100 works from the mid-20th century to the present, including a stunning array of sculpture, painting, photography, video, and installation art. While adding to popular understandings of core expressions of African heritage such as the religion Candomblé, the exhibition explores the complexities of race and cultural affiliation in Brazil, and the provocative ways in which artists have experienced and responded creatively to prevailing realities of Afro-Brazilian identity in Bahia.
Axé Bahia is organized by the Fowler Museum at UCLA and curated by Patrick A. Polk, Roberto Conduru, Sabrina Gledhill, and Randal Johnson. The exhibition anchors the Fowler’s three-part program exploring Brazil’s African history and cultural heritage, which also includes Lineage through Landscape: Tracing Egun in Brazil by Fran Siegel (July 23–December 10, 2017) and Africa/Americas: Photographic Portraits by Pierre Verger (September 10, 2017–January 21, 2018).
ABOUT PACIFIC STANDARD TIME: LA/LA Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA is a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. Supported by grants from the Getty Foundation, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA takes place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California, from Los Angeles to Palm Springs, and from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.
About the Fowler Museum The Fowler Museum at UCLA explores global arts and cultures with an emphasis on works from Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas—past and present. The Fowler enhances understanding of world cultures through dynamic exhibitions, publications, and public programs, informed by interdisciplinary approaches and the perspectives of the cultures represented. Also featured is the work of international contemporary artists presented within the complex frameworks of politics, culture, and social action.
Fowler Museum at UCLA 308 Charles E Young Dr N | Los Angeles, CA 90024 | fowler.ucla.edu Admission to the Fowler is free. Hours: Wed 12–8pm and Thu–Sun 12–5pm Parking available in UCLA Lot 4, 221 Westwood Plaza at Sunset Blvd. ($12/day) @fowlermuseum #pstlala #axebahiapstlala.
Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer, music reviewer and photographer. Contact him via: [email protected]