Celebrate Diversity

Mark Your Calendars! Celebrate Diversity will be taking place
AUGUST 18, 2012 from 1:00 PM- 7:00 PM!

Celebrate Diversity is a feast for the eyes and ears! Dancers, musicians and artisans from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and the Americas share their culture through exciting performances and interactive demonstrations. Come get a henna tattoo, watch traditional weavers at work, dance to infectious drumming and meet Erie’s newest residents. This event is a joint effort by the Multicultural Community Resource Center, the Erie Art Museum, Catholic Charities, the International Institute and St. Benedict Education Center.

This year’s event will take place at the intersection of 10th and State Street on August 18th.

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Feel free to browse the pages and see what this great festival has to offer!

Mohan Khadka

Mohan Khadka is a relatively new arrival to Erie. He and his family came to the city in 2009 as refugees from Bhutan. In the late 1980′s and early 1990′s the Bhutanese government stripped the Lhotshampa people (Bhutanese of Nepali descent) of their citizenship and branded them as illegal aliens. After protests and riots, most of the Lhotshampa were forced to flee Bhutan after violence broke out. Mohan left his country as a young boy and met his wife, Naina, in one of the seven refugee camps in Nepal. While living in the refugee camp, he taught himself to paint, draw, and carve. He also taught art, mostly painting and drawing, to anyone who wanted to learn.

Most of Mohan’s pieces are intricate sculptures and models carved out of wood, similar to the detailed dollhouses constructed by enthusiasts here in the United States. In exile in Nepal he preferred bamboo, but here he makes do with whatever wood he can find. One of his prized pieces is a bouquet of intricate wooden flowers, complete with paper-thin bamboo leaves and carefully woven basket to hold them. One of his more recent pieces is an exquisite rendition of a small temple, made from strips of popsicle sticks. The temple perches on top a mountain made from tree roots that he found along Lake Erie’s shore with dyed sawdust to recreate grass and plants.

He lives in Erie with his wife and two children. He is eager to continue his art, and to find local sources of bamboo. He will be doing a carving demonstration at the Celebrate Erie Festival.

Celebrate Diversity 2011

As part of the city’s Celebrate Erie festival, the MCRC sponsored a Celebrate Diversity stage and street festival.

 

Sudanese Henna

At a recent Gala for the Erie Art Museum, refugees from Sudan decorated guests with intricate Henna tattoos.

Henna tattoos, or Mehndi, were traditionally applied the the hands and feet of brides in Western Africa and Southern and Western Asia.  It is applied to the skin with either a brush or a tube, and can last anywhere from a few days up to a month.  The die is rendered from a plant by the same name, and ground with oils.  The pigments can range anywhere from shades of red and brown to nearly black.