Sowing Seeds at the MAH [2024]

Media Type


Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History


Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History has subscribed to for exhibition promotional video and social media first content since 2021. As part of the Amotion subscription package, new video materials are produced for specific exhibitions defined in advance. A core piece of media, a 16:9 60-second commercial, is created from opening nights and used for advertising online. Additionally vertical 9:16 videos are produced in association with the online marketing campaign for each exhibition.

Exhibition information:

Sowing Seeds: Filipino American Stories from the Pajaro Valley explores Filipino labor and migration to the Pajaro Valley from the 1930s to the present. The exhibition brings together oral history, archival materials, and contemporary works of art to feature multidimensional narratives across four themes: labor, gender, conflict, and memory. Sowing Seeds celebrates the perseverance of a Filipino American community to transform the Pajaro Valley into a home in the face of racism and exclusion.

The migration of Filipinos to the United States occurred at the dawn of U.S. colonization of the Philippines in the early twentieth century. The U.S. government appealed to Filipino farmers to travel to the U.S. and fill low-wage agricultural jobs. Roughly 100,000 Filipino men and women traveled across the Pacific to labor in fields. This generation of migrants is known as the manong and manang (“older brother” and “older sister”) generation. The Pajaro Valley was one major agricultural center where Filipinos worked and where some stayed.

Unfortunately, many of the manong and manang have long passed. Their stories live in the memories of their descendants. Sowing Seeds views these memories as key sites of historical and artistic research. By featuring family photographs, heirlooms, and recorded interviews, the exhibition highlights the stories that descendants seek to memorialize. Sowing Seeds also investigates how and what memories are remembered as a way to further explore diversity, difference, and multidimensionality. Eight California-based contemporary artists were invited to interpret these memories in order to visualize the social complexities of this Filipino American community.

The artists featured in Sowing Seeds include Minerva Amistoso, Binh Danh, Ant Lorenzo, Sandra Lucille, Johanna Poethig, Ruth Tabancay, Jenifer Wofford, and Connie Zheng.

The exhibition features archival materials from 17 family collections found on the Watsonville is in the Heart Digital Archive:

Alminiana Family, Ancheta Family, Asuncion Family, Bersamin Family, Bosque Family, Carillo Family, Cawaling Family, Deocampo Family, Fallorina Family, Florendo Family, Irao-de los Reyes and Ibao Family, Lopez Family, Mariano Family, Millares Family, Nabor Family, Recio Family, Reyes Family, Sales Family, Sulay Family, Tana and Tabios Family, and Tuzon Family.

The exhibition culminates a four-year research initiative between community members, UC Santa Cruz students, scholars, and curators called Watsonville is in the Heart (WIITH). WIITH collaborates with The Tobera Project, a grassroots organization based in Watsonville, CA. In 2020, Dioscoro “Roy” Recio Jr. initiated a partnership with UCSC to confront the unevenly documented history of Filipino Americans in the Pajaro Valley. With his leadership, the initiative has expanded to include several projects including oral history interviewing, digital archiving, and K-12 curriculum development.

Sowing Seeds is curated by Christina Ayson Plank with Meleia Simon-Reynolds, Dr. Kathleen Gutierrez, and Dr. Steve McKay in collaboration with The Tobera Project. The exhibition is organized by WIITH and the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. Advisors for the exhibition includes:

Jasmine Alinder, Dean of Humanities, UCSC

Rick Baldoz, Associate Professor of American Studies, Brown University

Catherine Ceniza Choy, Professor of Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley

Dan Fallorina, The Tobera Project Member

Anna Fallorina, The Tobera Project Member

Rudy Guevarra Jr., Professor of Asian Pacific American Studies, Arizona State University

Trisha Lagaso Goldberg, Artist and Independent Curator

Theodore Gonzalves, Curator of Asian Pacific American History, Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

Rebecca Hernandez, Community Archivist, UCSC

Eva Alminiana Monroe, The Tobera Project Member

Dioscoro “Roy” Recio Jr., Founder of The Tobera Project

Jessica Rubenacker, Exhibit Director, Wing Luke Museum

Analyn Salvador-Amores, Professor of Anthropology, University of the Philippines, Baguio

Celine Parreñas Shimizu, Dean of the Arts, Distinguished Professor, Film & Digital Media, UCSC

Modesto Tuzon, The Tobera Project Member

Rita Tuzon, The Tobera Project Member

Juanita Sulay Wilson, The Tobera Project Member

Allen Wilson, The Tobera Project Member

Alice S. Yang, Associate Professor of History, UCSC

Antoinette DeOcampo-Lechtenberg

Maurice Carrillo

This exhibition is presented with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, California Humanities, UCSC The Humanities Institute, UCSC Arts Research Institute, UCSC Arts Division, UCSC Office of Research, UCSC Division of Social Sciences, UCSC Center for Labor and Community, Monterey Peninsula Foundation, UCSC Committee on Research, Society of Hellman Fellows, and Rebecca Hernandez of the Rise Together Fund at Community Foundation Santa Cruz County. The exhibition is made possible with the generous contributions of Cristana DeGuzman, Greg Reyes, and George Ow, Jr.

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