Kith + Kin in Calgary is presenting Sari-Sari Sunday on June 12, 2022, at the High Line Brewing to celebrate Philippine Independence Day. Kith + Kin is comprised of artists Sam Mendoza and Kelly Johnsgaard, who coalesced in creating spaces and opportunities that bring people together, and promote art in its various forms. Thus, the nom de guerre Kith (one's friends, acquaintances, and relations ) + Kin (one’s family).
Sari Sari Sunday is a fundraiser dinner and art show engaging the five senses. It aims to elicit nostalgia and recreate, or create, memories. Do you remember that art piece on your grandmother’s wall? Do you remember what you were feeling at a family gathering? What was the smell? How was the camaraderie and collaboration among family members and friends, like cooking in the kitchen, or preparing for the gathering? These were the impetus and ideas for Sari Sari Sunday.
Sam and Kelly believe in creating a community through connection and collaborative exploration. And for this event, they have gathered a variety of Filipino creatives: Jason Del Corro, Chef & Owner of Eats of Asia (@eatsofasia); Momma Sonia Mendoza (Home Chef); Kaitlyn Alonday (@kaitlynalonday), mixologist of High Line Brewing and Finalist in the 2021 Made with Love Cocktail Competition, will do the cocktail pairings; and music artists Mark Cruz aka DJ Fatrok (@fatrok) and Bad Bodies (@bad.bodies), whose lead singer, Tomi Nu, is Filipino. Along with Sam, other Filipino visual artists include: Moey Blanco (@moeyblanco), Harvey Nichol (@harveynichol.ca), Tomi Nu (@email@example.comfirstname.lastname@example.org), Jasmine Atay (@jasmine.atay.designs). This listing makes the event a virtual who’s who of Filipino artists in Calgary.
Sari Sari Sunday is the 3rd Kith + Kin offering. The 1st one, billed Kith + Kin Volume 1, in February 2020 at The Eden, and featured Chef Rogelio of Alloy, Chef Carl Warren of The Eden, visual artist Tara Victoria and DJ Fatrok, was built around the theme of nostalgic childhood meals. Kith + Kin Volume 2 in June 2020 was a People.Paint.Eat stay at home celebration with a picnic basket containing a selection of canapes and grazing items, a custom Kith + Kin art package of paint brushes, acrylic paints, canvases, and a DIY game, that can be played with friends and families.
Kith + Kin is a creative outlet for Sam and Kelly outside of their own practices, to be able to give back to the people they love & care about, and also, the organizations they feel need that support. Every Kith + Kin event has a charitable component. This was the idea initially hatched with scribblings on a napkin. They knew that friends and family would always be involved, and what that would feel like, in creating an environment where there’s nostalgia around it - whether it’s a smell that may be from the food that they remember, or something that can enlighten their moment. It will also need to involve music, that creates a soundtrack to the experience. This was the all and be all.
A 2nd generation Filipino, Sam Mendoza (@d.i.t.r.o) is a graphic artist and life-long mental health advocate, owing to the fact that her parents were both psychiatric nurses at the Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury in Ponoka. “I always knew my purpose was to do right by my community through connection and collaborative exploration. My passion for philanthropy motivated me to create my moniker Diamonds In The Rough Originals (D.I.T.R.O), a platform to give back by using my artistic talent + curation skills.”
Kelly Johnsgaard (@kellyo83j) is the co-founder of Nvrland, “an artist-run foundation that transforms abandoned buildings into artist studios and community event spaces''. He specializes in custom fabrication, art/event curation and photography. “I derive great joy from helping people realize their own potential in their own time and space. I can’t help but feel overwhelmed at times at what a privilege it has been to be able to create this space for them, a chance to work with some amazing board members and serve the community of Calgary.”
Kith + Kin set out to create an experience stimulating the senses. They have also managed to inculcate a spirit of generosity - through their fundraisers and individual philanthropies. Sam has had collaborations with A Better Life Foundation, Brown Bagging For Calgary’s Kids, The Calgary Drop-In & Rehabilitation Centre, among others. Mark Cruz aka DJ Fatrok is an Instructor for the Beat Drop DJ Mentorship Program. For Sari Sari Sunday, proceeds of drink sales will be donated to the Sunshine Club in Pasay, Philippines, an outreach program serving lunch meals every school day to selected indigent children from Kalayaan Elementary School. Proceeds of artwork sales will be donated to Philippine Arts Council, a nonprofit organization whose main objective is the promotion and development of Philippine art and culture, and the Filipino artists. What better way to spend the day that marks Philippine Independence in the month that celebrates Philippine Heritage in Canada. Because this is, after all, what Filipinos, especially in Canada, do - help one another in any way, at any time.
Sam and Kelly are passionate individuals, who recognize the importance of bringing the true sense of community to life. They follow their gut, move organically, continue to be excited and inspired by the connections and camaraderie that evolve, and at the same time create an impact to those within and outside of their circles. I can’t wait to see what they come up with for the next Kith + Kin iterations.
Limited tickets (80) for the Sari Sari Sunday event, which runs from 4-9pm on June 12, are on sale for $90, which includes a welcome drink, pulutan platter, kamayan platter, and entertainment. Tickets can be purchased via DM/Email: email@example.com, in-person at High Line Brewing, and Eats of Asia.
* This article was published in the April 2022 issue of the Alberta Filipino Journal.
** Do you know an artist/creative who is Filipino or of Filipino-descent, or an art and culture event that should be featured? Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.