Curator’s Talk: Julia White on Divine Women, Divine Wisdom

Exhibit - Artifacts | June 26 | 12 p.m. |  Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

 Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

In this exhibition walkthrough, Senior Curator for Asian Art Julia White discusses selected artworks in Divine Women, Divine Wisdom in terms of their style, content, and cultural meanings. She will focus on images from the secular realm such as Bust of a Girl from second- or third-century Gandhara and Dancing Devi from twelfth-century India, as well as images of women in Himalayan art where they appear in both benevolent and wrathful forms. The tour concludes with a discussion of woman as consort, as in the Four Mandalas of Hevajra.
The Pyramids were founded in 1972 when alto saxophonist Idris Ackamoor and original group members traveled to Europe and took a musical-spiritual journey to study with local musicians in northern Ghana, the land of the Frafra of Bolgatanga and the Islam-influenced Dagomba of Tamale. The band’s first chapter concluded with their final concert at the 1977 UC Berkeley Jazz Festival. In 2007, the Pyramids announced their return, and they have since released a trilogy of critically acclaimed albums.
Angee’s Journey retraces a mother’s path to visit her son during his fourteen-year incarceration: four trains, five buses, two cabs, and twelve hours each way. Choreographed by Suchi Branfman and Ernst Fenelon Jr., whose mother made the arduous journey, and performed by Branfman and Fenelon along with members of Fenelon’s family and a chorus of dancers (Cynthia Irobunda, Amy Oden, and Anna Paz), this thirty-minute piece honors the thousands of women that persist in supporting their incarcerated sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers.

Janie is an intimate performance piece inspired by the true stories of MaryJane, also known as The Bird Lady, who rescues and raises birds inside a women’s maximum-security prison in Southern California. With text drawn from interviews conducted inside the prison, the work is created and performed by Suchi Branfman and visual artist Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo.
A thirty-minute film by award-winning producer, director, and editor Pam Uzzell, Welcome to the Neighborhood explores Mildred Howard’s long family roots in the Bay Area and the impact of gentrification on local residents. Howard’s mother, Mabel Howard, moved to San Francisco during World War II and became part of the growing community of African Americans in South Berkeley, where she spearheaded many significant political and community projects. Today, her renowned artist daughter Mildred can no longer afford to live in her lifelong home city.

This program is cosponsored by UC Berkeley’s Black Staff and Faculty Organization and the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society.

 afox@berkeley.edu, 510-642-0365