Photo Diary | Patrisse Cullors at Highways Performance Space

by Christopher Andrew Armstrong

“Wear white,” was the only instruction for the attendees crowding into the legendary Highways Performance Space eager to witness the interactive Patrisse Cullors art performance. The Santa Monica venue, which gained its reputation from showcasing mostly queer artists experimenting with various mediums, celebrated its 30th anniversary with a show examining trauma, healing, and the resilience of the queer, black woman. 

Besides from performance artist, Patrisse Cullors also has Black Lives Matter Global Network and Reform LA Jails co-founder listed on her resume. Curated by Damon Turner, and featuring appearances from various artists such as Damon Davis, Tonina, and the Street Symphony, the show combined performance, live music, sculpture, and improvisation. From the opening, which explored the mundaness of washing black hair, to a bit where Cullors examined issues with her weight by incorporating coconut milk, salt, and honey as forms of symbolism and meditation. 

Check out Flaunt’s exclusive Photo Diary from the event.

Damon Turner and Pop-eye pour salt into my tub for the  Weight  piece. Nena Soulfly is preparing my makeup for the final salt grave.

Damon Turner and Pop-eye pour salt into my tub for the Weight piece. Nena Soulfly is preparing my makeup for the final salt grave.

Osun’s altar sits at the foot of the 100 year old bathtub.

Osun’s altar sits at the foot of the 100 year old bathtub.

Nena Soulfly, preparing makeup and hair adornment as part of  Weight  performance.

Nena Soulfly, preparing makeup and hair adornment as part of Weight performance.

Foremost shares his gorgeous visual art pieces during the evening of Respite, Reprieve and Healing: An Evening of Cleansing.

Foremost shares his gorgeous visual art pieces during the evening of Respite, Reprieve and Healing: An Evening of Cleansing.

Each  Hairwash  performer walks in white robes towards their destiny.

Each Hairwash performer walks in white robes towards their destiny.

This coconut milk is healing our communities. There is beauty in simplicity.

This coconut milk is healing our communities. There is beauty in simplicity.

We kneel in reverence of our hair. Our natural hair historically scoffed at is now seen as a blessing.

We kneel in reverence of our hair. Our natural hair historically scoffed at is now seen as a blessing.

Pondering forgiveness and strength. Love and healing and light.

Pondering forgiveness and strength. Love and healing and light.

The audience watches in praise and surrender.

The audience watches in praise and surrender.

All Black bodies. All white robes. Healing collectively.

All Black bodies. All white robes. Healing collectively.

I am standing tall. Over my grave. I am here now.

I am standing tall. Over my grave. I am here now.

Keep standing. Tall. With love.

Keep standing. Tall. With love.

Bathing in the milk that restores our health.

Bathing in the milk that restores our health.

Letting go and freeing myself.

Letting go and freeing myself.

Look into my eyes. Let’s get free together.

Look into my eyes. Let’s get free together.