Jan 11, 2024
Jan 26, 2024

Kinding Sindaw: In Honor of the Ancestors

Indigenous Living Traditions from the Philippines in Diaspora

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La MaMa Experimental Theater Club and Kinding Sindaw present a new exhibition, In Honor of the Ancestors: Indigenous Living Traditions from the Philippines in Diaspora, open now through Friday, January 26, 2024 from 1pm - 7pm, at La MaMa Galleria, 47 Great Jones Street, NYC, 10012. Attendance is available with a suggested donation of $5-$20.

Through the debut of twenty-five unpublished photographs by the late Asian-American activist Corky Lee in conversation with sacred heirlooms and newly commissioned documentary films, the story of Kinding Sindaw emerges by celebrating the lives of the community’s hereditary and creative forebears from both Mindanao and downtown New York. Artists whose work appears in the exhibition: Corky Lee, Bai Labi Hadji Amina, Sultan Mamintal Dirampaten, June Maeda, Sultan Mohammad Giwan Mastura, Mendung Sabal, and Ellen Stewart

Drawing on techniques from Theater of the Oppressed, visitors are invited to take off their shoes and participate in an immersive installation conceived as a community space for live performance and ceremony, lectures, discussions, and workshops: including beginners' classes led by master kulintang gong musicians, introductory exercises to pangalay movement healing, and betel-nut rituals, offering immersive transformational wellness and healing experiences.

The exhibition presents Kinding Sindaw’s archives to the public for the first time in the three decades since its founding. Back home, traditions passed down by the ancestors weave inseparably through everyday life as dance, martial arts, chanting, and extemporaneous poetry.   To preserve this aliveness, Kinding Sindaw unleashes its archives through the lens of salsilah, which to the Muslims of Mindanao can refer both to a clan’s 'genealogy' as well as the recited litany of its names. From the Arabic for 'chain' or 'connection', salsilah expands understandings of archival practice by encompassing the oral, performative, and ritual dimensions of provenance and collective memory.

Thursday 1/11: Opening Ceremony | 6–8PM

Saturday 1/13: Importance of Preserving Living Tradition Panel | 3–4:30PM

This panel will invite visitors to discover not only the beauty of indigenous living traditions, but also the need to protect them. How do ancestral oral traditions weave inseparably through everyday life? What models can be offered in resisting the commodification of intangible cultural heritage? A genuine exploration into the challenges and victories of keeping our living traditions alive in NYC across communities.

Honoring Ellen Stewart | 5–6PM

Celebrate the life and contributions of Ellen Stewart, La Mama Founder and a Kinding Sindaw creative ancestor. The evening will feature performances and speeches that honor Ellen Stewart and her contributions to Kinding Sindaw.

Sunday 1/14: Performance | 2PM

What does Kinding Sindaw mean to you Panel | 3–4:30PM

This panel will invite the newest generation of Kinding Sindaw company members to reflect on the impact Kinding Sindaw has made on their path. Hear directly from Kinding Sindaw Company Artists as they share personal stories, their relationship to the indigenous culture of the Southern Philippines, the role folk art plays in their everyday life and their hopes for Kinding Sindaw’s future.

Culture and Activism in the Asian Diaspora Panel | 5–6:30PM

Sponsor: National Federation of Filipino American Associations
Resilience is a part of us. Why? In response to injustice, what motivates you to mobilize, strategize and offer pathways forward? How is activism connected to culture? How is activism connected to artistry? In this panel, we will discuss critical insights on defending human rights, exploring the political dimensions of culture and fostering dialogue on the transformative power of culture and art in activism.

The Healing Power of Sound with Sara | 7–8PM

Thursday 1/18: Importance of Unlocking Cultural Healing Wisdom Panel | 6–7:30PM

This panel prioritizes the power of mental health, enacting the transformative power of denying a colonial mentality. Join us for a multi-disciplinary dialogue that delves into the intersection of heritage, health, and traditional arts, fostering pathways to heal the traumas of colonization and displacement not only of Filipinos, but all allied, immigrant, refugee, and Indigenous communities in diaspora.

The Healing Power of Sound with Sara | 8–9PM

Saturday 1/20: Children and Family: Intro to Mindanao Living Tradition | 1–2PM

An introductory dance and history class led by tradition bearer, Potri Ranka Manis, for children of any age and their families.

The Philippine Unwritten History of Mindanao Panel | 2:30–4PM

Sponsor: United Federation of Fil-Am Educators
This panel will discuss the role of Filipino educators in the diaspora and this role's relationship to visibility and awareness of indigenous living traditions of Mindanao. How is this connected to the present state of The Philippines? Join us in learning from and with the panelists as we unravel the history of Mindanao that is shared in Filipino educational spaces in both the Philippines and the US.

Sunday 1/21: Workshop title: Intro to Baybayin | 1:30–4:30PM

Explore the ancient, pre-colonial writing script of the Filipino people in an introductory class with Citadel Cruz. Ms Citadel will guide us through the basics of Baybayin and its significance in the preservation of indigenous culture. By the end of the class, participants will be able to read and write in Baybayin using simple words. Amount of students: max 20 people

Friday 1/26: Closing Ceremony and Honoring of Corky Lee | 6–8PM

In collaboration with Asian American Arts Alliance, In Honor of the Ancestors will hold its closing night ceremony on Friday, January 26, 2024, starting a 6pm, honoring the life of Corky Lee (1947 - 2021) and his impact on Kinding Sindaw and the Asian American community at large. The evening will feature performances and speeches in honor of Corky and a light reception. Attendees must RSVP directly to emily@kindingsindaw.org.

Photos by Tuânminh Albert Đỗ

About the Curators

Ali Purpura (born Christopher) is a Filipinx multidisciplinary artist, writer, and designer based in Brooklyn, NY.  Having initially joined Kinding Sindaw five years ago as a performer, Ali returned as a guest artist in 2022 at the invitation of Potri Ranka Manis to co-direct and -choreograph performances at The Cooper Union and the company’s Off-Broadway debut at the New Victory Theater–The Legend of the Monkey and Mermaid. Their unorthodox dance experience includes immersion in Brooklyn's underground House and Techno music communities, and training as an initiated semazen or ‘whirling dervish’ in the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Sufi Order, with whom they have whirled in innumerable zikr ceremonies as well as special events, including at Subud New York, Deepak Chopra’s HomeBase, and the opening ceremony for the 2017 NYC Dance Parade.

Formerly the Director of Research at the international design studio NO ARCHITECTURE, Ali collaborated closely with their mentor and Founding Principal Andrew Philip Heid A.I.A. to write the introduction to the 2023 monograph Glass Houses published by Phaidon; as well as a prize-winning concept for the 2019 Shenzhen Qianhai Landmark competition, which was shortlisted alongside industry leaders such as Sir Norman Foster, MVRDV, and Snohetta. Soon after graduating at the top of their class from the University of London’s Bartlett School of Architecture with an MA in Architectural History, Ali’s research on movement theorist Rudolf Laban won the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) Award for Outstanding Master’s Degree Thesis in 2015. Prior to graduate study, Ali earned their BA in Art History from NYU and designed multiple video art exhibitions as the Curator of Projected Images for the Cutlog Contemporary Art Fair in 2013. Ali learned the process of mounting exhibitions at MoMA PS1’s curatorial department, Gagosian, and the Andy Warhol Museum, which also acquired one of Ali’s early works on paper for its permanent collection. As an artist, Ali explores the intersections of dance-ritual, Queer Theory, and spatial practice.

Margaret Guzman is a Filipina-American documentary filmmaker and journalist based in NYC. Upon her 2021 graduation from NYU, where she studied Critical Creative Production and Documentary Film, she has since pursued a career in video journalism as a Producer with Business Insider. She currently covers entertainment for their YouTube-first show, “How Real Is It?”

Born and raised in Manila, she immigrated to the United States at the age of 10 — and retains her mother tongue of Tagalog and Filipino upbringing in her New Jersey home. It wasn’t until college, exposed to NYC’s multitude of cultures and identities, that she felt a longing to explore her identity as a first-generation Filipina immigrant. Margaret first encountered Kinding Sindaw while researching her undergraduate documentary thesis, where she explored how Filipinos in diaspora use performance as a means to connect to the Philippines. The research evolved into a 73-minute documentary film, Live at Gotham, which weaves Margaret’s autobiographical relationship to performance with the life of Potri Ranka Manis and history of Kinding Sindaw.

Shortly after, Margaret officially joined the dance company as a performer in the 2021 Queensboro Dance Festival. She has since danced with the company for their off-Broadway run at New Victory Theater, as well as their latest La MaMa E.T.C. production Posaka in October 2022. She currently serves as the Archivist for Kinding Sindaw and implements new systems for preserving the company’s cultural heritage and collections amassed over its thirty-plus-year history of performing in NYC With her passion of archiving and documentary film, she hopes to uplift other underrepresented and diasporic communities through the framework of contemporary art and culture, social justice, and activism.

Emily Anne Goes, born and raised in East Side San Jose, is a Filipino New York-based performer and pathfinder. Emily attended New York University Tisch School of the Arts and completed her BFA in Drama in 2020. She is an interdisciplinary musical performer, NYSCA Folk Art Apprentice, company member of Kinding Sindaw Heritage Foundation and student of Tradition Bearer, Potri Ranka Manis, learning to assert and preserve Filipino indigenous traditions and reflect on the resilience and resistance of the Moro people against centuries of colonization under Spanish rule.

Dedicated to nurturing spaces that acknowledge formative histories and healing pathways forward, Emily currently co-conspires with The CRAFT Institute, founded by Dr. Monica White Ndounou, as the Director of Marketing and Communications and supports the marketing of CreateEnsemble.com and #BlackTheatreDay. In addition, under the same guidance and leadership of Dr. Ndounou, Emily is on the steering committee of The International Black Theatre Summit. Previously, she proudly served as the Operations Manager for Broadway Advocacy Coalition, and now works as a consultant for their annual Arts in Action Festival.

She was most recently seen in a developmental reading of Performing Filipina by Lianah Sta. Ana. She is represented by Shushu Entertainment. Gratefully standing on the shoulders of those before her, Emily sees and feels her family with each breath.

A non-profit dance theater and resident of La MaMa Experimental Theater Club, Kinding Sindaw reclaims and revitalizes the living traditions and oral histories native to the island of Mindanao in the Southern Philippines, and advocates for the self-determination of 63 Indigenous nations, including the Bukidnon, Maguindanao, Maranao, Tausug, and T'boli. Kinding Sindaw exists to assert, preserve, reclaim, and re-create the traditions of dance, music, martial arts, storytelling, and orature of the indigenous peoples of Mindanao, Southern Philippines.

Founded by a Meranao Bai Labi, Tradition and Culture Bearer, Potri Ranka Manis, Kinding Sindaw recreates the oral traditions of ancestral art forms from Mindanao and is a resident company of La MaMa Experimental Theater Company. Our mission is to educate and enlighten communities about the history and cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Philippines. Through the use of indigenous music, dance and cultural art forms, we serve as an important educational and cultural resource in New York City. We aim to promote the advocacy for indigenous peoples, as well as increase awareness of universal themes that are part of the human experience. The range of our programs also integrates the health benefits of the ancestral movements that we show and teach to our audiences. Through these cultural art forms, we advocate for the preservation of natural resources that are the livelihood of the indigenous peoples. Wellness and healing rituals are also embodied in the repertoire of Kinding Sindaw to increase health and healing awareness of participants and audiences.

In Honor of the Ancestors: Indigenous Living Traditions from the Philippines in Diaspora is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

La MaMa Galleria


Founded in 1984, La Galleria is a nonprofit gallery committed to nurturing experimentation in the visual arts. La Galleria encourages an active dialogue between new media, performance, the plastic and visual arts, curatorial projects, and educational initiatives. It serves the East Village community by offering diverse programming to an inter-generational audience, and expanding the parameters of a traditional gallery space. As a non-profit, La Galleria is able to provide artists and curators with unique exhibition opportunities that are largely out of reach in a commercial gallery setting.

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