Oral Fixation project brings stories by immigrants to stage at the Dallas Museum of Art

Dallas Morning News (Dallas, TX), June 17, 2014



Eight people will be performing at the special Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) Late Night edition of the storytelling series “Oral Fixation (An Obsession With True Life Tales).” The show is sold out, but Stewart expects some seats to become available that evening. Videos of the performances will be available later at youtube.com/oralfixationshow.

The theme for the night — “Lost in Translation: Stories About Immigration.”

“I have always used an idiom as a theme for the storytelling,” says Stewart, who started Oral Fixation. “I thought it would be impactful for this night to really explore this concept of what does get lost in translation.”

Stewart came up with the idea for the show while talking with Carolyn Bess, the director of Arts & Letters Live at the museum. Bess mentioned that the DMA was hosting naturalization ceremonies as a way to connect the world collections of art with people from those regions.

“We have so many immigrants in Dallas that this is a really ripe theme,” she says. “It’s a chance to really understand the challenges they have faced to be here and to be part of our community.”

One performer, Jean Congera, says the event gave him an opportunity to tell parts of his story that he has never told before. It took nine years to get to the United States. His family is from Burundi, but he has never seen the country. Congera grew up in refugee camps in Africa.

“During my journey in Africa, I thought about death, and I could not see how God can save us from darkness and hopelessness,” he says. “The only thing I knew was that if I stayed, I would be destroyed. We were told that being in America is amazing. Some would say that being in America is like being in heaven. It feels good to share this.”


Subjects Covered: diversity, personal storytelling

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