Since the migration of local artists to Downtown LA in the 1970s, the Arts District has become synonymous with murals, street art, and graffiti. Join us in the Public Garden for a conversation examining the history and culture of muralism in LA with art historian Isabel Rojas-Williams and muralists Kim West and Noni Olabisi. Amongst murals by Kim West and Out For Action crew, panelists will discuss their own experience as artists, activists and LA locals, mapping the multi-layered narratives of public art in the Arts District and greater LA. Afterwards, participate in a Q&A and plot your own self-guided tour of the murals showcased in the forum.
This event is free, however, reservations recommended. Click here to register.
About Isabel Rojas-Williams
Isabel Rojas-Williams, an art historian and curator, served as the Mural Conservancy Los Angeles Executive Director from 2011 – 2016. A native of Chile and resident of Los Angeles since 1973, she became an immediate and passionate fan of the mural movement here. She is a longtime civic activist who served as Mayor Villaraigosa’s liaison to the Latino, the Asian, and the African American Heritage Committees. Isabel earned her graduate degree in art history from Cal State Los Angeles, and joined the faculty there in 2007. Among her numerous research works are ‘Los Angeles Street Mural Movement, 1930-2009,’ her master’s thesis, and a research video on David Alfaro Siqueiros, ‘Siqueiros: A Muralist in Exile,’ (exhibited at MOLAA 2010 – 2011), which led to her participation on the Mayor’s Advisory Committee for the Siqueiros Mural and Interpretative Center project that was completed in 2012. Isabel had a major role in helping write the mural ordinance signed by Mayor Garcetti in 2013, which lifted the 2002 mural moratorium in Los Angeles. In October 2014, Los Angeles City Council honored Isabel Rojas-Williams as one of the fifteen ‘Latinas in the Arts’ who has made an impact in the cultural landscape of Los Angeles. On January 2016, Isabel was chosen by Los Angeles City Council and City Impact Lab as one of the exceptional ‘2016 Impact Makers to Watch.’
Noni Olabisi is an artist/muralist with over twenty-five years of experience, having received many awards for public art commissions. In 2010 she was awarded a California Foundation J. Paul Getty Individual Artist Fellowship to further her career as an artist. She recently was commissioned to mentor students from various high schools in her community on the art of painting a mural. Olabisi’s murals have appeared on television, in music videos, movies, on the cover of The LA Times Weekly, as well as in numerous newspapers, magazines and books. Her work reflects the need for perseverance for justice and equality, to educate and to promote transformation.
Kim West is a painter and accidental muralist. West’s practice engages memories – creating fractured realities that pin down wisps of ether and bridge gaps. Washy landscapes and loosely rendered, color-forward botanical motifs become allegorical events. The New York Times has called West’s mural work “dreamlike,” and in scope, her public work ranges from murals rendered on intimate wall corners, to addressing expanses of 5-story-high factory building façades, to cavernous and abandoned 650,000 gallon pools. West’s work is collected and commissioned by everyday people, art collectors, celebrities, corporations, galleries, and educational institutions. West’s mural work can be found throughout Los Angeles, CA (Hauser Wirth Gallery, West Hollywood City Hall, LAX), as well as in countless films, television shows, commercials, music videos, and ubiquitously in Instagram-user selfies.