Photo: Medusa from the Gorgo Pediment - Doric Temple of Artemis - Kekyra - Corfu - 590-580 BCE.Archaeological Museum of Corfu

TEMPLO: Birds, Snakes, Goddesses, and Monsters, a lecture by Miriam Robbins Dexter

  • Sat 11 March 2023
  • 1 – 2 pm

Thousands of prehistoric bird-human-woman and snake-human-woman figurines have been excavated throughout Eurasia. In the historic age, named goddesses and heroines take on this avian-viperine imagery but the sacred element in many has degenerated and the divine feminine has become monstrous. Join us for Birds, Snakes, Goddesses, and Monsters: The degeneration of prehistoric divine female figures – a lecture with an accompanying slide show with a pioneer of the Women’s Spirituality Movement, Miriam Robbins Dexter, Ph.D. This lecture is part of a series of programming curated by Kathryn Garcia, which draws inspiration from Garcia's TEMPLO installation and is presented as part of The Performance Project. Click here to register for the event.

Miriam Robbins Dexter holds a Ph.D. in ancient Indo-European languages, archaeology, and comparative mythology, from UCLA. Her books include Whence the Goddesses: A Source Book; Sacred Display: Divine and Magical Female Figures of Eurasia (2010, with Victor Mair) (2012 ASWM Sarasvati award); and Foremothers of the Women’s Spirituality Movement: Elders and Visionaries (2015, with Vicki Noble) (Susan Koppelman award for best edited feminist anthology, 2016). She edited and supplemented Marija Gimbutas’ final book, The Living Goddesses; a book of essays in her honor after her death (with Edgar Polomé), Varia on the Indo-European Past: Papers in Memory of Marija Gimbutas; and a posthumous book of her articles, The Kurgan Culture and the Indo-Europeanization of Europe: Selected articles from 1952 to 1993, by Marija Gimbutas (with Karlene Jones-Bley). Miriam is the author of over thirty scholarly articles and nine encyclopedia articles on ancient female figures, and she has edited and co-edited sixteen scholarly volumes. For thirteen years, she taught courses in Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit languages in the department of Classics at USC. For the following sixteen years, she taught courses in Goddesses and Heroines in the Women’s Studies department at UCLA. She has lectured at the New Bulgarian University (Sophia, Bulgaria) and “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University (Iasi, Moldavia, Romania).

Sign-up for other TEMPLO events here.

About TEMPLO TEMPLO consists of an installation of 4 large-scale pyramids, a central altar, a film, and a participatory performance. The Pyramids act as energetic and physical anchors and are meant to be entered. As part of the experiential nature of the performance the visitors are invited to participate in a meditative offering. The video acts as a backdrop - a journey into the Divine Feminine, expressed as a reverent connection with the earth, and our cosmos (as epitomized by the sun's light reflected in the sculptures). The cycles of death and rebirth are evoked in ritualistic scenes shot within Phoenician tombs, and neolithic burial chambers. Rituals at ancient sites consecrate a deep honoring of our sacred Earth, and Her mysteries. Scenes of the Sea invoke the watery depths of the feminine. As part of the opening ceremony sound healers will be performing in situ.

‘Spiritual interchange and oneness between woman and earth as forms of therapeutic, internal healing also figure’s in Kathryn Garcia’s mesmerizing multi-media works. Filmed in Ibiza, a Spanish island, the artist’s video footage features Garcia in striking ritualistic goddess poses which emulate historical ancient iconography. In the backdrop hovers Es Vedrà, the uninhabited Goddess Island near Ibiza, a well known energetic vortex. By channeling feminine wisdom and spirituality, Garcia’s nude body serves as a bridge between terrestrial elements of the earthen ground and the cosmic qualities embodied in the beams of light radiating from the prisms. A hypnotic combination of video, light, performance, and sound healing in the artwork pull human consciousness towards the divine feminine, Garcia’s body behaving as the primary medium to usher a sense of cathartic release.’—Lisa Aubry

TEMPLO, a performance-based installation, will be on view and activated as part of The Performance Project from 4 – 17 March.

About Kathryn Garcia Kathryn Garcia (b. Los Angeles, CA) lives and works between Los Angeles and the Mediterranean. Inspired by her spiritual practice and travels to ancient and sacred sites, Garcia works in a variety of media, including site-specific performance, video, sculpture, and drawing. Provocative and oftentimes interactive, her work engages with the Goddess Archetype as a means of reclaiming identity vis a vis the female body. Garcia’s bodies - her body, or the constructed bodies seen in her drawings, are created as vehicles for spiritual experience where the body becomes a sacred site. Her interactive works explore themes such as healing, mindfulness, participation, interconnectedness, and the experiential in art and are meant as offerings to the public. These offerings take place within immersive sculptures that the artist considers temples. Early on in her career, Garcia worked on international projects with Emi Fontana and Rirkrit Tiravanija, such as Women in the City (2008), Palm Pavilion (2008) and Asile Flottant (2010). Garcia’s work has been exhibited in the US and abroad, including The Orange County Museum of Art, Santa Ana; LAXART, Various Small Fires, 356 Mission, and Gavlak Gallery, all in Los Angeles; Pace Gallery, GBE, Participant, PS1-MOMA, all in NY; Ballroom Marfa, Texas; The Power Station, Dallas; Nina Johnson, Miami; Edel Assanti, Southard Reid, London; Embajada, Puerto Rico; Arredondo/Arozarena, Mexico City; and DESTE foundation, Greece.

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