November 23, 2015


How do we document our experiences?
Who is telling our story?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Red Poppy Art House
2698 Folsom Street
San Francisco

Join us for this free evening of sharing the work and unique perspectives of our featured artist-activists.  Our roundtable events are an ongoing series of gatherings and workshops that we have hosted since 2008 to bring together artists, organizations, and the public whose work is located in culturally-specific communities.  We named our gatherings, La Mesa, to invoke the ease and comfort you might find for art-sharing, food and conversation around a table.

Our topic will address the unique efforts we employ to capture how we tell the stories of our cultural communities.  Who captures our joy as well as our difficulties?  How do our perspectives feed or negate the popular images of the “other”?  How does our art create the stories we want to promote and preserve?  In a world of contested narratives, what can traditional artists contribute to the conversation?

Tumani Onabiyi is an Oakland treasure who picked up his camera nearly four decades ago and has captured the African Diaspora experiences since that time.  From the Black Arts revival of the 70’s to recent celebrations of the Oakland murals at the Malonga Center, he is a citizen-ethnographer whose sharp eye has recorded a vibrant community.

The founding of the Manila Heritage Foundation is inextricably tied to the displacement of the primarily Asian/Pilipino residents of the I-Hotel in San Francisco. How this history impacts the direction of their organization and art-making will be addressed by Caroline Cabading and Carlos Zialcita, artists and directors with the organization.

Social media is another strong communication tool influencing narratives and is a living archive.  Sonny Le, is an active proponent of media, utilizing blogging and Twitter effectively. His sharp critical eye stems from many experiences including his perspective as a boat person from Vietnam who was interviewed recently by NPR.  Sony will share with us his perspectives following a recent trip home to Vietnam and speak to why social media can propel your narrative.