Tamejavi Culture and Art Series: Regaining a Sense of Home, a Celebration of Color and Heritage

Join us for a celebration of art and culture as the Valley’s immigrant communities share their stories.

The Tamejavi Culture and Art Series: Regaining a Sense of Home, a Celebration of Color and Heritage consists of heritage-based events, featuring the visual arts, theater, dance, storytelling, poetry, and cultural ceremonies of the Valley’s diverse immigrant communities. It’s a unique opportunity to discover and experience firsthand the wealth of art and culture these communities have to offer. The series, which runs from January to April 2013, includes nine separate events in four Central Valley cities: Fresno, Visalia, Madera, and Livingston.

The series is the culmination of the Tamejavi Cultural Organizing Fellowship Program (TCOFP), which directly invests in our region’s cultural organizers and engages communities to connect art with people’s daily lives. Each event in the series is organized by one of nine TCOFP fellows representing their respective communities as cultural keepers, artists, and organizers. It is their chance to fully utilize the instruction they have received in the program. Each event is designed to engage members of all cultures through a lively expression of the arts. Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public.




Press Conference
Wednesday, January 30, 11 a.m.
Pan Valley Institute
1440 Shaw Ave., Fresno, CA 93721

This press conference introduces the media, promotions, and outreach campaign for the Tamejavi Culture & Art Series.



Reflection Circle
Friday, February 1, 3 – 4 p.m.
Fresno Center for New Americans/Holistic Center
4879 E. Kings Canyon Rd., Fresno, CA 93727
This event is by invitation only.

The Reflection Circle provides a space for organizers, artists, and Tamejavi friends to gather and reflect on what they have learned throughout the Tamejavi Cultural Organizing Fellowship Program (TCOFP). This is also an opportunity for the organizers to share their hopes and expectations for the Tamejavi Culture & Art Series, as well as their vision for the future of artistic expression by Central Valley immigrants. This event will be facilitated by Gaspar Rivera Salgado, Ph.D. (TBC)

Opening Ceremony
Friday, February 1, 5 – 7 p.m.
Fresno Center for New Americans/Holistic Center
4879 E. Kings Canyon Rd., Fresno, CA 93727

This event is by invitation only.

The opening ceremony launches the Tamejavi Culture & Art Series. In keeping with the Tamejavi tradition, there will be a blessing ceremony by the Central Valley Native Americans (Nation TBD). At this opening ceremony, attendees will get their first glimpse of the series’ many programs.

The Hmong Journey in Fresno
Friday, February 22, 5 – 7 p.m.
Fresno Center for New Americans/Holistic Center
4879 E. Kings Canyon Rd., Fresno, CA 93727
Fellow: Pov M. Xyooj (Hmong)

This photo exhibit documents key resettlements of the Hmong community in Fresno and highlights the community’s accomplishments. The exhibit is also an opportunity for the Hmong community to take ownership of the city and country that received them at the end of the Secret War in Laos. TCOFP fellow Pov M. Xyooj believes that it is important for Hmong people to realize they are not just visitors anymore; Fresno and the U.S. are now home, and they can make changes to improve their community and their lives.

Encuentro Purépecha
Saturday, February 9, 1 – 5 p.m.
Portuguese Hall
820 E. Main St., Visalia, CA 93292
Fellow: Salvador Ramos (Purépecha)

The Ecuentro Purépecha offers a window into the richness of this ancestral culture and traditions. Purépechas from the Central Valley and other regions of California gather to celebrate their culture and share it with other communities. The public will have an exciting opportunity to experience the richness of Purépecha dances, music, traditional clothing, and authentic culinary art. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of oral tradition in the preservation of indigenous culture and the history of their ancestors.

The Color of India
Sunday, February 17, 1 – 5 p.m.
Portuguese Hall
1237 Main St., Livingston, CA 95334
Fellow: Dolly Solomon (Punjabi)

Inspired by the Tamejavi Heritage Gallery (during the second TCOFP gathering), this gallery exhibit gives the different states of India an opportunity to show their art and the diversity of the Indian people living in the Central Valley. The Central Valley is populated by many Indo-Aryan speakers who are members of different religious groups, including Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jains, and Buddhists. In addition to a gallery, TCOFP fellow Dolly Solomon hopes to clear up misconceptions about the people of Punjab and to share the Punjabi language.

MARCH 2013


Nuestra Plaza: Cultura y Tradición Indígena
Saturday, March 9, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Madera Courthouse Park
210 W. Yosemite Ave., Madera, CA 93637
Fellow: Silvia Rojas (Mixteca)

In conjunction with International Women’s Day, this event is dedicated to the creativity of indigenous women. Not to be confused with a weekly swap meet, this event is a recreation of the colorido of Oaxacan plazas, where people from different towns share their foods, produce, clothes, and artistic expression through music and dance. Nuestra Plaza is organized by a group of indigenous women who have been practicing their traditional culinary skills while generating income for their families.

Otomi Culture Alive in the Central Valley
Saturday, March 16, 5 – 7 p.m.
Arte Américas Casa de la Cultura
1630 Van Ness Ave., Fresno, CA 93721
Fellow: Ruben Lucero (Otomi)

This is a presentation on the history and traditional arts of the indigenous Otomi people of central Mexico. The presentation demonstrates how important cultural arts are in maintaining the spiritual, economic, and physical health of Otomi communities. It brings together Otomies who now call the Central Valley home. Attendees of this workshop will view an exhibition of traditional Otomi art and enjoy a taste of authentic Otomi foods.

APRIL 2013

Fandango Zapoteco: Teatro del Pueblo Para el Pueblo
Sunday April 7, 5 – 8 p.m.
Madera Courthouse Park
210 W. Yosemite Ave., Madera, CA 93637
Fellow: Juan Santiago Ramirez (Zapoteco)

Based on interviews and research, Teatro del Pueblo Para el Pueblo is a live theatrical representation of the customary practices leading up to a traditional Zapoteco wedding (called fandango), as celebrated in the town of Coatecas Altas in Oaxaca, Mexico. This collective project enables ordinary Zapotecos to share their knowledge and experience with others. The Fandango project is an opportunity for younger generations to learn about their heritage from the elders. The gender gap and increased cultural and civic participation will also be addressed in the performance. The actors of this communal play are young and old day-to-day members of the town of Coatecas Altas, now living in Madera.

Legacy of Angkor
Friday April 12, 5 – 8 p.m.
Tower Theatre
815 E. Olive Ave., Fresno, CA 93728
Fellow: Sokha Serey (Khmer)

This presentation depicts the history of the Khmer people and illustrates how culture and art are important to their way of life. It also demonstrates how cultural arts preserve the Khmer heritage and tradition, uplift the community’s spirits, and keep the legacy of Angkor going. Through dance, music, paintings, plays, bas-relief carvings, clothing, and film, the audience will experience what Khmer heritage is, and the challenges of continuing this legacy. The community will learn of strength within unity, the importance of pursuing higher education, the value of the cultural arts, and the resolve of the Khmer generations who survived the Vietnam War and the Khmer Rouge, and who continue to keep their traditions alive here in America. After the show, the audience will enjoy a taste of authentic Cambodian food.

Kooch: Stories of Mixed Identities
Saturday, April 20, 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno
2672  E. Alluvial (between Willow and Chestnut)., Fresno, CA 93720
Fellow: Tahereh Taherian (Iranian)

Kooch highlights the challenge faced by every immigrant: maintaining traditional culture while living in the culture of their host country. This presentation uses music, poetry, and dance to show the community how Iranian immigrants work to keep their Persian heritage and traditions alive. It also addresses issues of human rights and the generation gap. Ziba Shirazi, a female Persian singer, will perform and share her music as storytelling. An Iranian master musician, Mr. Faez, will play his beautiful santour (a classical Persian instrument), and there will be readings of great poets, such as Rume and Hafez.

Hmong Culture Connection
Sunday, April 28, 12 noon – 3 p.m.
Arte Américas Casa de la Cultura
1630 Van Ness Ave., Fresno, CA 93721
Fellow: Bee Yang (Hmong)

This gathering addresses a generation gap and provides an opportunity those outside the Hmong community to come and learn about it. The Hmong Acting Club and many other artists will present a theater play representing cross-generational issues, weddings, funerals, and other traditional rituals that are often restricted in the United States. There will also be a recreation of the Tamejavi outdoor market and storytelling circles to honor the oral Hmong tradition. Traditional Hmong artifacts will be displayed, followed by discussions about the history, meaning, and uses of the artifacts.

MAY 2013


The Grand Finale
May 4, 11, 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Tower Theatre
815 E. Olive Ave., Fresno, CA 93728

The Tamejavi Culture & Art Series ends with a Grand Finale performance featuring guest artists Maria Bauman (dance), Adam Browser (poetry), and Maureen Gosling (film). The show weaves together multicultural performances from the stories of Valley immigrants, including Hmong, Khmer, Iranian, indigenous Mexican, and Punjabi.

This is a program of the Pan Valley Institute of the American Friends Service Committee and is made possible thanks to the financial suppor


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