Citizen Divas: Women, Art, and Social Justice

A Panel in celebration of International Women's Day

Free of charge, open to the public

Saturday March 6th

MOCA- The Museum of Contemporary Art, AUDITORIUM

250 South Grand Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90012

For further information:,

Organized by Nancy Buchanan, Christine Wertheim and students from CalArts ID 517

This symposium focuses on social, geographical and conceptual arenas where the power of women to speak on behalf of themselves and their peers is strongly, radically asserted through works of art and activism.

12.00-12.30 - Introduction by artist Andrea Bowers

12.30- 2.30 - Lourdes Portillo will discuss the making of her film, Senorita Extraviada, Missing Young Woman, a documentary examining the mystery of the hundreds of young women murdered in Juarez, Mexico.

+ Claudia Bernardi will talk about a collaborative mural, Tapestry of History, which she organized with Guatemalan survivors of the massacres that took place during the long attacks on indigenous villagers. These women came from Chajul, Nebaj, Chimaltenango, Ixil, Ixcan and Rabinal to share their stories.

3.00- 5.00 - Andrea Liss, Art Historian/Cultural Theorist and author of Feminist Art and the Maternal will discuss the radical mother-artists featured in her book.

+ Activist Margaret Prescod will discuss the work of grassroots women in her presentation, Women, Haiti and the Struggle for Democracy.

There will be additional short presentations by the organizers.


Andrea Bowers has explored individual expression within society at large in her ground-breaking installations, video and drawings. Her work offers a uniquely feminist critique, eliding dogma for dissent and exploding simple notions of radicality.

Claudia Bernardi is an internationally renowned artist who works in the fields of human rights and social justice. She has witnessed monstrous human tragedies, yet speaks of these horrors in ways that communicate the persistence of hope, undeniable integrity, and necessary remembrance. In 2004, Bernardi was awarded grants to support her project to create an Art School/ Open Studio in Perquin, a rural community in El Salvador.

Andrea Liss is The Contemporary Art Historian and Cultural Theorist at California State University, San Marcos, where her teaching focuses on feminist art and theory, photographic theory and representations of memory and history. In addition to Feminist Art and the Maternal (2009) she has published Trespassing through Shadows: Memory, Photography and the Holocaust (1998).

Lourdes Portillo is a Mexico-born, San Francisco-based filmmaker whose work examines issues pertaining to Latino and Latin American culture, society and politics through a richly varied range of forms, from investigative documentary to satirical video-film collage, often combining the personal and the political in a radical, idiosyncratic way. Over three decades, she has completed more than a dozen films, including Las Madres: The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo (1986), La Ofrenda: The Days of the Dead (1988),The Devil Never Sleeps (1994) and SeƱorita Extraviada (2001), that have received awards around the world.

Margaret Prescod came to independent radio station KPFK with years of experience as a women's rights and anti-racist activist, including having represented the voice of grassroots communities to UN conferences and providing consultations on many issues. She is co-founder of the Global Women's Strike, and the host of Sojourner Truth, a public affairs show on KPFK.


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