Forget Me Not - La Tensani
Exhibited at the Unitarian Church, Doncaster, as part of Artbomb Festival, 2021
Forget Me Not is a short film built from a collection of home videos spanning from 1991 to 2020, with footage from the UK, Lebanon and Kuwait; making connections between past and present. The short film has a nonlinear narrative, in which the visual narrative is guided by the audio of the videos and recordings of my parents.
The visual outcome aims to highlight the engagement of culture, politics and history that have influenced first generation migrants; in this case we follow how my parents express and maintain their own cultural identity, how they have adapted it to meet the society they live in and how they chose what to share and pass down to their children. What I find interesting, but have not dwelled on, is the reflection of this on the Lebanese people within Lebanon as they struggle with national identity due to a sectarian government and an economical crisis.
This is an explorative piece of what it means to belong to a place and understand our identity. Although it is mainly targeted at a British-people of colour audience, with nostalgia of place and sound being a universal feeling it can also resonate with a non-POC audience through the use of family and relatable visuals. Despite it being personal, it aims to tackle the fear of uncertainty, and offer a positive visual narrative for not only my own generation and our offspring, but also future generations of migrants and theirs. It should serve as a guide on how to help maintain and produce a future generation that recognises their heritage as well as the history of the land and society they live in. There are many factors that influence the battle of identity within children of migrants, such as location, finance and communication. For those who weren’t privileged enough to travel frequently to the motherland or attend a religious/language class growing up or are not surrounded by any form of POC community, you form an imbalance in your cultural identity. There are many people who have similarly experienced this confusion and loss and the eagerness for a sense of belonging. By acknowledging this through the work, I hope to continue this conversation to help educate and inform generations to come.