Sinful Saints and Saintly Sinners at the Margins of the Americas

March 30–July 20, 2014

Life at the margins in the Americas―borders both physical and societal―inspires sacred figures who walk the fine line between sinfulness and sanctity. In worship and artistic representation alike, such figures both reflect and impact the experiences of those who regularly struggle with complicated economic, political, legal, geographic, gender, and racial realities.

Featuring an array of paintings, sculptures, digital arts, mixed-media works, and site-specific installations, Sinful Saints and Saintly Sinners at the Margins of the Americas examines a series of  crucial, and often controversial, divine beings in Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, Argentina and the United States. Artists working in both traditional and contemporary genres interpret official and unofficial Catholic saints, martyred folk heroes turned supernatural intercessors, such as the New Orleans’ “Voodoo Queen” Marie Laveau and the “Mexican Robin Hood” Jesús Malverde, and cultural heroes like the Native American deity known as Coyote.

This exhibition brings together works by numerous artists including Evelyne Alcide, Vitor Amati, Edgar Clement, Eduardo Closs, Jeff Cullen, Demián Flores, Harry Fonseca, Judithe Hernández, Ignacio, Leonardo Linares, Carolyn Long, Alma López, Marcos López, Teresa Margolles, Matjames Metson, Delilah Montoya, Engelis Oliveira, María Romero, Renée Stout, and Steven Yazzie.


Vitor Amati (b. São Paulo, Brazil, 1969)
Gauchito Gil (detail), 2011
Digital photograph
Collection of the Artist

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Exhibition In Depth

Press Release

Sinful Saints and Saintly Sinners at the Margins of the Americas

Exhibition Credits

This exhibition is curated by Patrick A. Polk, curator of Latin American and Caribbean popular arts, Fowler Museum. Generous support for the exhibition comes from the Lenore Hoag Mulryan Fund and the Donald B. Cordry Memorial Fund. Additional funding is provided by Jim and Jeanne Pieper, the Ethnic Arts Council of Los Angeles, and Manus, the support group of the Fowler Museum. Public programs and family activities are made possible by the UCLA Dream Fund.