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This New Documentary Shows an Ethiopian-American's Journey to Connect with His Heritage

'The Diaspora Journal' is a new documentary that shows director Nathan Araya coming to grips with his identity as he travels to Addis Ababa.

As a first generation Ethiopian-American, Nathan Araya, the director of a new documentary The Diaspora Journal, felt his adolescence was awkwardly positioned in the middle of two cultures. Neither fully Ethiopian nor fully American, he struggled coming to grips with his identity. In the documentary, Araya travels to Ethiopia in an attempt to bridge that gap.


In The Diaspora Journal, a film that Araya says it took him 30 years, or his whole life, to make, he finds himself in the bustling and rapidly growing capital Addis Ababa. Araya takes an immersive approach into finding out and experiencing the country by working as a taxi cab driver assistant and shoe shiner.

Araya on culture and his experience of traveling to Ethiopia:

America is full of different cultures, yet it baffles me when people with cultural differences, who rarely interact with each other on deep levels, have so much commentary on the others' cultural perspective. Division is to be expected when people aren't developing meaningful relationships with others outside their culture.

Everyone who lives in America does not see everything the same. But if you find yourself perplexed at someone's outlook...that may need to be the very person you build a relationship with. When I went to Ethiopia for the first time, I did not bring in a 'Western Savior' complex trying to help people that have been stigmatized through media as 'hopeless people.' I went in knowing that there was much to learn and I knew that I needed to be very intentional with building relationships through meaningful conversations to gain perspective.

Still From The Diaspora Journal courtesy of Nathan Araya.

Still From The Diaspora Journal courtesy of Nathan Araya.

An insightful, yet lighthearted documentary that explores a rapidly changing Ethiopia and its relation to the children of those who left it, The Diaspora Journal is necessary viewing.

Araya’s last documentary, Sincerely Ethiopia, also nominated for an African Movie Academy Award, showcases a diverse array of organizations that are creatively addressing issues of literacy, accessibility for people living with disabilities, homelessness, and a range of other social issues.

Although there are no upcoming screenings for the 40 minute documentary, Araya welcomes folks who want the documentary to be shown to contact him.

Still From The Diaspora Journal courtesy of Nathan Araya.

Check out the trailers of Sincerely Ethiopia and The Diaspora Journal and be sure to head here for more info.

Interview

Interview: Wavy The Creator Is Ready to See You Now

The multidisciplinary Nigerian-American artist on tapping into all her creative outlets, creating interesting things, releasing a new single and life during quarantine.

A trip canceled, plans interrupted, projects stalled. It is six months now since Wavy the Creator has had to make a stop at an undisclosed location to go into quarantine and get away from the eye of the pandemic.

The professional recording artist, photographer, writer, fashion artist, designer, and evolving creative has been spending all of this time in a house occupied by other creatives. This situation is ideal. At least for an artist like Wavy who is always in a rapid motion of creating and bringing interesting things to life. The energy around the house is robust enough to tap from and infuse into any of her numerous creative outlets. Sometimes, they also inspire trips into new creative territories. Most recently, for Wavy, are self-taught lessons on a bass guitar.

Wavy's days in this house are not without a pattern, of course. But some of the rituals and personal rules she drew up for herself, like many of us did for internal direction, at the beginning of the pandemic have been rewritten, adjusted, and sometimes ditched altogether. Some days start early and end late. Some find her at her sewing machine fixing up thrift clothes to fit her taste, a skill she picked up to earn extra cash while in college, others find her hard at work in the studio, writing or recording music.

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