Artist and activist Patrisse Cullors has developed a video that provides a look into her process in creating the powerful performance Prayer to the Iyami, including video of the production itself which took place at The Broad on February 5, 2020.
Touching on themes including resistance, healing, metaphor and mysticism, in the piece, Cullors uses her older brother Monte’s used clothes to build a tapestry forming the shape of wings. She carries these 20-pound wings as a marker of the 20-year fight to keep her brother free from incarceration and abuse, leading audiences in a ceremonial procession toward empathy and awakening.
The score features James Baldwin speaking about the American Negro crisis interwoven with Cullors’ voice as she reads the Yes on R ballot measure in California, which Cullors founded and chaired, and helped pass on March 3, 2020. The ballot measure gives subpoena power to Los Angeles’s Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission and funds research into community-based alternatives to L.A. County’s jail expansion.