For me filmmaking is a way of being curious about the world I live in. It points me toward personal inquiry. Through my scholarship and film work I join the community of international artists and filmmakers who are committed to questioning and exploring the power of visual representation, especially as it deals with representations of the history and memory of post-colonial identities. My work as a filmmaker and scholar is motivated by the need to find effective ways of communicating the stories and themes of exile, difference and the struggle for justice and equal rights. I am keenly interested in processing these narratives through the stories and experiences of women in Africa and the African Diaspora and am committed to representing these stories as challenges and journeys that are specific but also as universal experiences that can speak to all viewers.
AWRA AMBA'S (E)UTOPIA: A story of a community in Northern Ethiopia where a genuine “utopia” is thriving in a little village called Awra Amba. Fifty
years ago a small group of people led by a charismatic young man came together to establish a community based on true equality in all aspects of
life, where there will be no difference in treatment based on gender, class or age, where no organized religion has a place, and where all people
would work together to support each other and care for the weak among them.
SQUARE STORIES TRILOGY (2019) On three simultaneous screens, in three parts, the Square Stories Trilogy showcases the transformation of Maskal Square, the only major public square in the country designed for the performance of social and political power, an ever-evolving locus where past and present collide. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia has been undergoing a massive and rapid modernization process in the last twenty years. High rises sprouted throughout the city displacing millions. A light rail transit system has now been added into this iconic Square. The Trilogy tracks this transformation focusing on how the lives and activities in the Square have been impacted.
SQUARE STORIES TOO (2014) The second of a trilogy, this triptych video installation graphically and poetically presents Ethiopia’s struggle for modernity by juxtaposing ancient practices with twenty first century aspirations: street sweepers with household brooms sweep debris left behind by constructions of high rises and an elevated public transit system in Maskal Square, the largest public square in Addis Ababa.
SQUARE STORIES (2010) The first of a trilogy, this triptych Video Installation re-members Maskal Square, a massive concrete expanse and the largest public space in Addis Ababa, as a site of commemoration, offering it as a way of witnessing multiple, fragmentary histories of Ethiopia’s present and recent past.
IMAGinING TOBIA (2006, 2007) Triptych Video Installations exploring Ethiopian cultural and physical landscapes.
RUPTURES (2003) a Triptych Video Installation Exhibited at the 50th Venice Biennale, Italy.
YE WONZ MAIBEL (DELUGE) (1997) a one hour personal essay on history, conflict, loss and reconciliation. Told through a first person narrative it explores the momentous events that took place in Ethiopia between 1974 and 1991.
SIDET: Forced Exile (1991) a one hour film documentary portrait of three Ethiopian/Eritrean refugee women in the Sudan. It was filmed on location in the Sudan and was completed in 1991.
AS I REMEMBER IT, A Portrait of Dorothy West (1991) is a 56 minute portrait of the late Harlem Renaissance writer, Dorothy West. It was broadcast on WGBH Public Television in Boston in September, 1991.
OUR PLACE IN THE SUN (1988) a 30 minute video portrait of the Black community on Martha’s Vineyard Island. It was broadcast on WGBH-TV in February, 1988, and was nominated for an Emmy.
AWARDS, FELLOWSHIPS & GRANTS:
The Guuma Lifetime Achievement Award; Independent Television Service (ITVS), a program of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; The Luella LaMer Chair of Women’s Studies, Wellesley College; The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University; Fulbright Fellowship; Numerous Faculty Awards, Wellesley College; LEF Foundation; National Black Programming Consortium, CPB; Rockefeller Foundation, Intercultural Media Fellowship; Lila Wallace– Readers Digest International Artists Residency Program; Bunting Institute, Radcliffe College, Harvard University; The Massachusetts Artists Foundation; The Women’s Project; United Nations Development Program for Women; The Anson Phelps Institute, New York, NY; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; United Nations High Commission for Refugees; Global Fund for Women; WDR-TV, Germany; Paul Robeson Fund; Foundation for a Compassionate Society; Massachusetts Council for the Arts; Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities; Massachusetts Arts Lottery.