the color of earth 

                                                       a visual narrative about the Indian community in San Jacinto, CA

     (work in progress)

In 2004, my grandparents Manohar and Usha Kohli, moved to San Jacinto, California, 25 years after their immigration to the United States from Kenya.

My grandparents grew up in a small Punjabi community in Nairobi, where they really able to reside until 1976 - the year they decided moving to the U.S. would bring a brighter future for their two children.

San Jacinto is a city that lies on land that originally belonged to the Soboba Band of Luiseño people in Riverside County, and now exists as a  predominantly white culture littered with strip malls and fast food chains. The 26 miles of land are flat and vast, stretching out into the San Bernadino Mountains.

The Color of Earth is a work in progress, a visual narrative of their experience as Indian immigrants living in a city where only about .9% of the population is of Southeast Asian descent.

Chronicling my grandparent’s experience is a highly revealing window into the cultural and racial barriers they face in their environment. Lack of resources and a struggle to connect with those around them creates a very isolating environment where they exist in a mariginalized community.

“There are no temples here, nothing.
That’s why it’s called a dead town. Nothing here.”

                         “Moving to California was not easy. It was like starting all over again.”

“Somehow we ended up here, I don’t know how, but here we are 14 years later.”


“No matter where I am, I practice puja - it has always been like that, since I was young.”