Featured Artist - Sammay Dizon

APICC proudly presents the work the first USAAF Featured Artist - Sammay Dizon - during the 2018 Festival.


URBAN x INDIGENOUS (UxI) is an inter-generational, multi-disciplinary convening of artists, activists, incubators, scholars, and community members envisioned to honor our ancestors in a society which is driven by cultural amnesia. Now in its fourth year, this year's curation will explore the theme, "Unite the Tribes." Focused on the narrative of interwoven migration stories and our present role as settlers on Turtle Island/Ohlone Territory - UxI encourages artists, activists, educators, students, and beyond to investigate their respective genealogies; remember their ancestral lineages; and reclaim their indigeneity in order to find the intersectionality that brings us humans to our similarities more than to our differences. UxI embraces the multiplicity of who we are as artists/settlers/humans; it invites community members to use contemporary frameworks of thinking, investigating, and honoring to bring together the seemingly opposite worlds of “urban” and “indigenous.”


H.O.L.Y. (Hate Often Loves You) CITY is an investigation of what it means to cultivate “sanctuary” in the sanctuary city (San Francisco/Yelamu). It takes an uncomfortably intimate look at the violence against people of color and how we keep ourselves/one another “safe.” We invoke ritual, performance, and community gatherings to bring light to these often overlooked stories and give voice to the ones who now watch over us.

H.O.L.Y. CITY will have its first showing between March 19-25, 2018 at A.C.T. Costume Shop and is scheduled to premiere on June 15-17, 2018 at SOMArts Cultural Center during URBAN x INDIGENOUS IV: Unite The Tribes.



SAMMAY is a choreographer/producer and interdisciplinary performance artist of Kapampangan, Ilokano, and Bikol descent who envisions a future where our indigenous traditions co-exist with(in) our urban landscapes. Born and raised in LA County/Tongva Territory and now a settler in San Francisco/Yelamu, she invokes performance ritual through activations of the body for intercession and believes her role as kinetic storyteller and healer is ancient medicine from her maternal lineage. SAMMAY is the Founding Artistic Director of URBAN x INDIGENOUS and Resident Artist with API Cultural Center. She has been featured through Diego Rivera Art Gallery, Dance Mission Theater, Red Poppy Art House and has worked with The Medea Project, Kularts, Dancing Earth, and Epiphany Dance Theater among others. Presently, SAMMAY is a company member of Embodiment Project - exploring the school-to-prison pipeline, restorative justice, and healing through their latest work, Ancient Children. She is a three-time recipient of the "Presented by APICC" Artist Award; Featured Artist for APAture 2016: Here; and Performing Diaspora 2016 Artist-in-Residence at CounterPulse.

SAMMAY was a cultural ambassador for the first ever Indigenous Dance Forum in New York/Lenapehoking in April 2016 directed by Jack Gray and is a part of the global movement towards reindigenization through indigenous contemporary arts collective, I Moving Lab. Upcoming projects include H.O.L.Y. (Hate Often Loves You) CITY to premiere in June 2018 at URBAN x INDIGENOUS V: Unite The Tribes and BUSCARTE - an intercultural investigation and creative collaboration with José Navarette, Debby Kachiyama, and Byb Chanel Bibene exploring disappearance across respective ancestral lands. SAMMAY holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Sociology with minors in Dance & Performance Studies and Global Poverty & Practice from UC Berkeley. To follow her journey: www.sammaydizon.com.


Each year, APICC’s Artistic Director will choose a Featured Artist whose work will be highlighted to represent Asian and Pacific Islander artists in San Francisco’s arts community in its annual United States of Asian America Festival (USAAF). The artist chosen: is committed to API arts in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area; demonstrates leadership in building arts communities; creates high quality and engaging arts experiences for both artists involved and its audiences; and has participated in USAAF and/or has cultivated a deeper, collaborative relationship with APICC.

The Featured Artist not only receives fiscal support for the creation and presentation of their work for the festival, but will also be part of the jury that curates USAAF’s events and programs. The Featured Artist will be a leader and mentor in the festival’s process by leading professional development workshops and providing artistic feedback during the creation process to the other artists participating in USAAF. This level of support aims to fulfill APICC’s festival goals:

  • Implement a commissioning program that will function as an artists incubator - creating multiple career pathways for API artists to grow.
  • Facilitate community building with and between local API artists.
  • Attain flexibility to address production and professional development needs of individual artists.
  • Be more directly involved in supporting the artistic creation process.





*Photo by Robbie Sweeny