Home and Belonging: Me & My Sisters

A short film made by digi-film artist Aleksandra Dogramadzi

Home and Belonging: Me and my Sisters

Me and my Sisters

Me and my Sisters is a digi-film about the ‘migrant experience’ of refugees & asylum seekers. The experience of uprooting and relocating, especially when one has no choice, is a very disruptive experience and can manifest as a loss in terms of culture, traditions, home, belonging, identity and as in this case, family.

In her story, Ruksana and her three children fled her country several years ago. As a single mother, her entire family is still in limbo, as she goes through the process of seeking asylum. Her three girls attend school and Ruksana volunteers at a local church which sometimes offers ‘support’ to her and other families seeking asylum. This is Ruksana's way of finding a sense of duty in which she feels she can ‘give back’ to the ‘good people here,' irrelevant of her circumstances and the limitations she faces in having the right to live a ‘full’ life, because of her status as an asylum seeker. Ruksana prides herself in being an excellent cook and mother.

In this film, Ruksana and her own family are depicted here in a park. The children are playing and as she observes them, she reminisces about her own family and sisters back in her homeland. She remembers her mother and her four sisters as “childhood friends...like toys” and the empowerment and sense of safety, security, love, warmth and understanding she felt in her ‘past’ life. Through her own family, she re-imagines this experience of her past, in her present. Her story, identifies her sense of ‘self’, ‘belonging’ and security growing up in the cradle of her own family. Ruksana’s film also represents her life here as well and the need to keep her own family safe and happy.

About Home & Belonging films

Participants on the Home and Belonging project have collaborated with photographer Aleksandra Dogramadzi to develop their stories of personal experiences here in the North East.

In the digi-film workshops, participants explored the theme of ‘Home and Belonging’. Using their phones, they worked with the artist to co-produce their own stories; to sequence, script and choose locations for their digi-films. The stories cover a myriad of reasons ranging from persecution to war, for having to flee and/or be displaced from their countries, families, familiar surroundings and any sense of home and belonging they would have had themselves, prior to coming to the North East.

As a result, the participants have created digi-films, autobiographical snapshots capturing moments which caused dramatic upheaval in their lives but which is also part of the rich diversity of the migrant and also refugee and asylum seeking experience. Their stories present us with new encounters and challenges and changes our perceived identity of the ever-changing cultural landscape and contemporary social history of the North East.

Watch the other films