Skip to main content

UA Little Rock to Host Artist Kukuli Velarde as Windgate Distinguished Lecturer

Kukuli Velarde
Kukuli Velarde

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock will welcome acclaimed Peruvian American artist Kukuli Velarde as the next Windgate Distinguished Lecture Series featured artist for the Spring 2023 Semester.

“We are genuinely excited for the opportunity to host Kukuli Velarde and her CORPUS exhibit at UA Little Rock,” said Nathan Larson, interim art gallery director at UA Little Rock. “This exhibition offers an insight into how our contemporary culture is the product of decades and centuries of assimilation and overlapping of cultures from across the globe.”

The Windgate Distinguished Lecture Series, which began in 2020, is a lecture series that brings nationally known scholars, artists, makers, and art and craft influencers to UA Little Rock on an annual basis. The series is funded by a grant from the Windgate Foundation.

Based in Philadelphia, Velarde is a multi-talented artist working in ceramic, painting, drawing, and installation. Much of her work draws on pre-Columbian traditional forms and iconographies, highlighting colonized and syncretic identities and aesthetic systems.

Her latest exhibit, “Kukuli Velarde: CORPUS,” will be on display from Monday, Jan. 9, to Friday, March 3, 2023, in the Brad Cushman Gallery in the Windgate Center of Art and Design.

The Windgate Distinguished Lecture, “A Voice of My Own,” will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24, 2023, in the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall in the Fine Arts Building. The lecture will be followed by a reception from 7-8:30 p.m. in the second-floor lobby of the Windgate Center. During her visit, Velarde will also visit classes and review artwork with UA Little Rock students.

CORPUS is comprised of ceramic and fabric works that encourage reflection on the meaning of survival in the face of colonialism. Fifteen ceramic sculptures, each with matching tapestries, will be presented in a symbolic representation of the annual Corpus Christi festival in Cusco, Perú. The sculptures reference indigenous pre-Columbian forms and iconographies in a visual representation of syncretic aesthetic, cultural, and religious traditions.

“Kukuli blends the imagery and ceramic forms of Pre-Columbian Peruvian cultures with the Catholic imagery brought by the colonizing conquistadors to create a visual voice uniquely her own,” Nathan Larson, interim art gallery director at UA Little Rock. “But this voice is deeply rooted in the culture of assimilation; the culture she grew up in and the culture she now re-represents for us.”

Velarde received a BFA from Hunter College in New York City. She is the recipient of such awards as the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2015), Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant (2012), and Joan Mitchell Foundation grant (1997). Her work can be found in the collections of Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Lima, Perú; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, among many others.

The UA Little Rock Art Gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday, and 2-5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, contact 501-916-5104 or email Larson at