Kavad: Revealing Our Lives and Histories
is a multi-faceted storytelling program comprised of
community interviews, public readings, educational workshops, online
media, and new creative writing by Asian American poets.
the "kavad," a three-dimensional form of traditional Indian
storytelling, a box unfolds to reveal the secrets of a particular story. We have chosen "kavad" as the central metaphor for this program as we partner
across communities and generations of Asian Americans in the telling of
a collective Asian American story.
Kavad is the only program of its kind in the country and is of particular significance in that it not only employs ethnological modes of preserving Asian American history but also helps to re-create and re-invigorate our communities through creative work and community dialogue. Through Kavad, Kundiman brings forward the poet as witness, historian, and social activist.
A Kavad for Remembering 9/11: Together We Are New York
The sense of urgency to write often comes from a place of necessity – to discover truth, to challenge the simplification of stories. ~ Hossannah Asuncion
The 10th anniversary of 9/11 brought an outpouring of emotions and remembrances: “Together We Are New York: Asian Americans Remember and Re-Vision 9/11,” ensured that Asian American community voices were presented and shared as a vital part of the fabric of our city memory and our nation’s journey forward.
This project added to the texture of 9/11 remembrances while enabling the public to engage with Asian Americans as Americans as well as the difficult issues of hate crimes, religious tolerance, and civil rights. Furthermore, the poems will be available for future generations to mark how this moment in history has had such diverse legacies – and how we can respond as one community in the strongest diverse, inclusive spirit of New York City and the United States.
To see a short film with excerpts from this project, click here.
Prior Performances & Dialogues: Sept. 13, Sept. 28, and Dec. 18, 2011; March 13 and 24, 2012
Featured poets for the original performances included: Hossannah Asuncion, Tamiko Beyer, Marlon Esguerra, April Naoko Heck, Eugenia Leigh, Bushra Rehman, Zohra Saed, Purvi Shah, and R.A. Villanueva.
Our September 2011 launch event was hosted by Fordham University at Lincoln Center and our Brooklyn show in late September took place at the Blue Gem Room at the Paul Robeson Theater.
We subsequently had another performance in Chinatown at the Chen Dance Center attended by about 35 individuals. Featured poets for this December 2011 show and an excerpted performance on March 13, 2012 at Hunter College included Marlon Esguerra, April Naoko Heck, Eugenia Leigh, Zohra Saed, and Purvi Shah. Finally, April Naoko Heck, Zohra Saed, and Purvi Shah presented an excerpted segment of the show at the 2012 Split This Rock poetry festival on March 24, 2012. To see a slideshow of our launch performance, click here.
The Brooklyn Together We Are New York performance received a mention in a The New York Times community round-up.
Community member Cristina D.C. Pastor, an interviewee for the Together We Are New York project, provided her response to the project and spoke to its significance.
Kundiman thanks the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Fordham University, Brooklyn Arts Council, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the, Manhattan Borough Needs Program of the Manhattan Borough President's Office, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs for your valuable partnerships! Check out the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's information on this Kundiman program here.
For more information on Together We Are New York, please contact project director Purvi Shah at email@example.com.