December 4, 2014

By Rob Mattson

EXPO-losion: A Performance of Culture and Style.JPG See a Flickr set of photos from EXPO-losion.

If our motto, Terras Irradient, were inverted, the world would bring its light to students, right here at Amherst College. On Nov. 15, that's exactly what happend. EXPO-losion, held at the Powerhouse, was hosted by the African & Caribbean Students' Union and sought to creatively convey the diversity, culture and flavor of Amherst College through song, dance, spoken word and cuisine. Proceeds benefitted Charity: Water, a campaign to bring clean drinking water to developing countries.

Co-organizer Amir Hall '17, who is from Trinidad and Tobago, says the show was organized "to be an exposition of culture (hence 'EXPO-losion') that was diverse and educational." Over 100 people attended, many of whom come from, or have cultural roots in, Kenya, Tanzania, Palestine, South Africa, Jamaica, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and/or Guyana, as well as the United States.

"One of our aims for the [African & Caribbean Students' Union] is to be a channel through which Amherst College students could experience, enjoy and learn about cultures from our home/heritage countries," Hall said. For example, "the introduction piece of the dance was a commentary on contemporary conflict in the world" and used a popular Nigerian song about conflict in the country to further illustrate the point.

The evening's featured speaker, attorney Reginald Momah, discussed his experiences as a Nigerian immigrant to the United States and described "how minority students can navigate and achieve success in a highly competitive academic and work environment." 

While the event addressed serious issues in the global community through creative outlets, EXPO-losion also revealed the beauty and fun of exploring Amherst College's unique international flavor and diversity. Those in attendance ran with the fun of fashion and apparel design, tasted both sweet and savory snacks, heard a variety of languages and dialects, and felt the power of both modern and traditional dance. EXPO-losion organizers and performers were rewarded with genuine smiles and applause from a fulfilled audience.