CAATA ConFest “Return to the Source”, Episode 4 “Nomadic Imagination: Transnational Homelands & Cultural Return” On Monday, November 9, 2020 at 2PM HT, 3PM AKT, 4PM PT, 5PM MT, 6PM CT, and 7PM ET, Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists (CAATA) presented the fourth episode of its ongoing monthly ConFest Virtual Series, “Nomadic Imagination: Transnational Homelands & Cultural Return,” The episode was hosted by Andrea Assaf, Artistic and Executive Director of Art2Action, Inc. and Steering Committee Member of the MENA Theater Makers Alliance (MENATMA), with a special video message by Jamil Khoury, the Co-Executive Artistic Director of Silk Road Rising.
The episode focused on Middle Eastern/North African (MENA), Southwest/Central Asian, and Muslim American artists. The online event included scenes from “Eh Dah? Questions for My Father,” a new musical with book, music, and lyrics by New York Musical Festival Award-Winning theatre artist Aya Aziz, directed by Arpita Mukherjee (Hypokrit Theatre Company); and “The Red Chador: Genesis One” by performance artist Anida Yoeu Ali. This episode will also include a welcome by Tammy Haili‘ōpua Baker (Associate Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa), with panelists: playwright and actress Heather Raffo, director Kholoud Sawaf, and Arpita Mukherjee.
“Nomadic Imagination: Transnational Homelands & Cultural Return,” is the fourth episode of CAATA ConFest’s Virtual Series exploring the theme of the upcoming 7th Biennial Asian American Theater Festival & Conference (ConFest) “Kuʻu ʻĀina, Kuʻu Piko, Kuʻu Kahua – Return to the Source” in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi in May 2021. The in-person ConFest will center the voices of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander theater practitioners, and feature the thriving theater community of Hawaiʻi, where Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander faces on stage are the norm, not the exception. “Ku‘u ‘Āina, Ku‘u Piko, Ku‘u Kahua – Return to the Source” is a call to all theatre artists to reconnect with their foundations and their sources of knowledge: their land, their family, their center. The online series and its presentation of the wide diaspora of Pan Asian/Pacific Islander/MENA/Native/Indigenous American stories will be a vehicle through which both the audience and artists can ground themselves in their cultural knowledge and the many identities that we bring to our communities.