Soul Calling: ­­A Photographic Journey Through The Hmong Diaspora, Slideshow and Booktalk Event

September 19, 2012

Contact: Isobel Schneider

SOUL­ CALLING: ­­A Photographic Journey Through The Hmong Diaspora, a new book presented with a free slideshow by author and award-winning photographer Joel Pickford at the Berkeley Public Library.­ Special guest presentation of HOLGA photography works by Banteay Srei, an organization dedicated to supporting young Southeast Asian women impacted by sexual exploitation. This free program will be held Saturday, October 6th, 2012 at 2:00pm in the 3rd floor Community Meeting Room of the Central Branch of the Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge St., Berkeley.


From the rice harvests and funerals of remote Hmong villages in the mountains of Laos to the shamanic ceremonies and overflowing apartment-complex vegetable gardens of Hmong Americans living in Fresno, writer and photographer Joel Pickford leads us into a world of deep-rooted custom and the harsh realities of cultural adaptation. His exquisite photographs and intimate stories take us into living rooms and through the memories of a remarkable people, so recently displaced from their traditional homeland by the traumas of the Vietnam War. Joel Pickford is an award-winning photographer, filmmaker, and author born and raised in California’s San Joaquin Valley. His work can be seen at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Portland Art Museum, the Fresno Art Museum, among other collections. His documentary films have been broadcast on PBS stations throughout the country. In 2005, Joel received grants from the California Council for the Humanities and the James Irvine Foundation to document the Hmong refugee culture of Central California and Northern Laos. He holds an interdisciplinary master’s degree in Documentary Studies and Southeast Asian Studies at California State University, Fresno. His scholarly research also includes ethnographic fieldwork on the Laotian language and culture. Banteay Srei, based in Oakland, CA, works with young Southeast Asian women at risk for sexual exploitation. It provides social support, healing arts, reproductive health education, life skills-building, and leadership development. For more information go to Eastwind Books of Berkeley will provide books for sale at the event.  Portion of book sales will be donated to Banteay Srei (Bahn-tea-ay Suh-ray) *, a non-profit Asian Health Center project in Oakland. The Central Library is open Monday, noon-8 p.m., Tuesday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday afternoons from 1 p.m.-5 p.m.  For questions and accessibility information, call 510-981-6195, TTY 510-548-1240,