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'Sayaw' brings Filipino culture to Saint Paul's East Side

October is Filipino-American History Month, and on Communities that KARE we're taking you to a new exhibit in Saint Paul that connects us to the culture.

SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Inside Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center, it's a bounty of vibrant colors and illustrations. 

"Our current exhibition is called "Sayaw," a Philippine dance exhibit that explores the different mixture of cultures that have influenced the Philippines," explained Mary Anne Quiroz, Indigenous Roots' co-founder. "It was something that I wanted my children to see." 

The drawings depict traditional dances and regalia designed to capture hearts and open a window to the soul of Filipino heritage. "We're not a monolith culture; there's so many, so much diversity and richness in our cultural traditions." 

The graphic designs are by artist JME Foronda and inspired Quiroz, a dancer and community advocate born in the Philippines.  

"I immigrated here with my family in 1989, directly here to the East Side. And I never saw myself represented in anything, and having children, it was the same thing." 

Thanks to social media, Quiroz connected with Foronda, based out of Washington, to bring her work to the Twin Cities. "And so, I thought this was a really good way for us to showcase the diversity and the beauty of the Philippines," Quiroz said. "There's over 100 nations and tribes; there's over 100 languages spoken."

While the Sayaw exhibit gives us an art appreciation, it serves a larger purpose. "The first Filipinos in Minnesota came here, you know, hundreds of years ago. And so that's not something that's shared widely. And so I think having an exhibit like this can start those conversations," explained Quiroz, who shares another hope. "That this will also be a launching pad for many fellow local Filipino artists."

On Oct. 23, there will be an event where you can try Filipino food and a workshop where you can learn traditional folk and Filipino dances.

You can also see the exhibit through mid-January. It's open to the public during cafe hours, which are 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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