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Mapping Jewish, Indigenous, and Spiritual Life in LA

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How might religion and spirituality leave a mark on a city? The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has been supporting three different projects that document the impact of faith-based communities in Los Angeles: Mapping Indigenous LA, Mapping Jewish LA, and Mapping Religion Along Vermont Avenue. This Friday, January 22, numerous scholars, curators, and educators involved in these projects will be sharing their findings and how they might intersect in the online event “Engaging Lived Religion: Crafting Cartographies – Mapping LA.”

Hosted by the Fowler Museum at UCLA, the event will dedicate a portion of the discussion to how religious beliefs are presented and explored in museum galleries. “Initiatives like Mapping Indigenous LA that rely on community participation and highlight the power of self-representation and first-person narration provide alternatives to the third-person anonymous voice so often encountered in museum labels,” said Amy Landau, the Fowler’s director of education and interpretation, over email.

Mapping Indigenous LA gathers oral histories, photographs, and detailed accounts of Indigenous activism, community rituals, and the development of “Indigenous Los Angeles urbanity.” This initiative feels especially significant in a city that has the largest indigenous population in the US. Mapping Jewish LA also has a fascinating archive of online exhibitions and resources, including 25 multimedia essays on the Sephardim journeys to southern California. And the Vermont Avenue Project, being carried out by Landau and Patrick A. Polk (the Fowler curator of Latin American and Caribbean Popular Arts), is accruing a database of religious sites along the 22-mile-long avenue, ranging from temples and street shrines to storefronts and billboards.

When: Friday, January 22, 4–5:30pm (PST)
Where: online

More info at the Fowler Museum

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Elisa Wouk Almino is a senior editor at Hyperallergic. She is based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.



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