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Skirball Cultural Center to present


Exhibition celebrating artist Orly Olivier’s family history invites visitors
to celebrate their own cultural and culinary traditions

September 1, 2015–January 10, 2016

LOS ANGELES—Sharing food is one of the most genuine forms of cultural exchange. Gathered at the dinner table, we reminisce, share stories, and engage with one another. Petit Takett: Love, Legacy, and Recipes from the Maghreb is an exhibition and event series based on Los Angeles artist Orly Olivier’s Tunisian family heritage. On view at the Skirball Cultural Center from September 1, 2015, to January 10, 2016, Petit Takett celebrates food as a powerful connection to the past. Admission to the exhibition is free.

Olivier launched the multifaceted project Petit Takett—named after her grandmother’s Tunisian restaurant—after rummaging through her family’s treasures and unearthing memory-laden objects, photographs, and most importantly, her father’s recipe box. Carrying on the legacy of cooking and entertaining bequeathed to her by her father, who emigrated from Tunisia to Israel and finally to the United States, Olivier preserves and reinterprets family recipes, creates art, writes blog posts, and organizes traditional Shabbat dinners in Los Angeles under the Petit Takett label. For Olivier, adapting recipes she has inherited and “curating” cultural experiences for Angelenos result in new iterations of a living tradition.

“Food to me is not only a symbol of love,” remarks Olivier, “but also a universal language that can be understood by all, whether or not we speak the same language.”

For the Petit Takett exhibition at the Skirball, Olivier’s project will be expanded to include a display of original artwork, family photographs, and artifacts, as well as a “recipe mosaic” that will grow over time. Objects on view will include her mother’s traditional North African dress, a vintage commercial sign from her father’s kitchen, a hamsa amulet, letterpress recipe posters designed by the artist, and her father’s precious recipe box. Visitors will be encouraged to recall their own family gatherings by submitting favorite recipes on cards provided in the gallery. The submissions will be artfully assembled by Olivier throughout the run of the exhibition into a mosaic-like design inspired by North African textiles and tiles. 

Several related programs will engage the public in their own explorations of food, family, entertaining, and heritage. Each emphasizes how the sharing of food is a multisensory experience.

  • Part of the Skirball’s ongoing “Skirball Playdates” for young children and their parents, the September “playdate” invites families to design table settings and prepare a delicious Tunisian dish. (Sunday, September 20, 10:30 am–12:00 pm)
  • Just in time for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, Olivier will lead an adult education workshop on table settings. Guided by the artist, participants will create napkins using the Japanese shibori indigo tie-dye technique, an ancient art that utilizes wood blocks, string, and indigo dye. (Sunday, September 27, 9:30 am–12:30 pm)
  • Olivier will also host a Tunisian dinner, featuring an array of kemia (meze) salads—from mazoura (a spicy carrot and caraway salad) to meshuja crostini (white bean hummus with harissa on zaatar-encrusted crostini)—an entrée of vegetarian couscous, and a dessert of basbousa (citrus semolina cake). While savoring these delectable North African dishes, guests will share family histories and listen to music from the Maghreb. (Sunday, October 18, 6:30 pm)
  • A family sleepover provides another opportunity for children and their parents to enjoy food, recall family stories, and make new memories. (Saturday, November 14, 6:00 pm–Sunday, November 15, 9:00 am)

Details about these related programs, including separate admission fees, are or will be available here at Additional events will be announced as scheduled.

Orly Olivier (b. 1981) is an artist, photographer, blogger, and cook, currently residing in Los Angeles. A graduate of Art Center College of Design, she is currently managing director of the Breed Street Shul Project.

About the Skirball

The Skirball Cultural Center is dedicated to exploring the connections between 4,000 years of Jewish heritage and the vitality of American democratic ideals. It welcomes and seeks to inspire people of every ethnic and cultural identity. Guided by our respective memories and experiences, together we aspire to build a society in which all of us can feel at home. The Skirball Cultural Center achieves its mission through educational programs that explore literary, visual, and performing arts from around the world; through the display and interpretation of its permanent collections and changing exhibitions; through an interactive family destination inspired by the Noah’s Ark story; and through outreach to the community.

Visiting the Skirball

The Skirball Cultural Center is located at 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049. Museum hours: Tuesday–Friday 12:00–5:00 pm; Saturday–Sunday 10:00 am–5:00 pm; closed Mondays and holidays. Admission to Petit Takett is FREE. Admission to all other exhibitions: $10 General; $7 Seniors, Full-Time Students, and Children over 12; $5 Children 2–12. Exhibitions are always FREE to Skirball Members and Children under 2. Exhibitions are FREE to all visitors on Thursdays. For general information, the public may call (310) 440-4500 or visit The Skirball is also home to Zeidler’s Café, which serves innovative California cuisine in an elegant setting, and Audrey’s Museum Store, which sells books, contemporary art, music, jewelry, and more.