Ellen Dissanayake


Over the course of several decades, the aim of Ellen Dissanayake's work has been to uncover what she calls the “deep structure” of the arts. Based upon extensive research, she has identified underlying principles of our human nature that influence the making of our own arts and our responses to the works of others. Dissanayake proposes two sources for these underlying aesthetic principles; one is our prehistoric past when all humans lived in groups as hunter-gatherers and faced common existential problems, the other is our past as individuals when all begin life as helpless infants. Dissanayake will discuss her latest ideas regarding the relationship between the universal emotional needs and artistic proclivities that arise from our biological nature as human beings and that are intrinsic to who we are as individuals and as a species.

Come early for open galleries and a light reception from 6–7 pm prior to this lecture. Dissanayake's books will be available for purchase before and after the lecture.

Co-sponsored with the Visual and Performing Arts Education Program (VAPAE), UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture.



Ellen Dissanayake
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
7 pm 
Free program