SAME/Difference 'The Hearth'.
SAME/Difference is a creative writing and photography project devised by Quotidian artists Maria McManus, Viviana Fiorentino, Nandi Jola and Bernarde Lynn. This is the second implementation of the project. (See SAME/Difference 1 project here)
The project examines the concept of identity, belonging, home, diversity and peace-building, through creative writing and expressive abilities and explores the lived – experience of migration. We have been keen to include people from minority ethnic groups whose first language is other than English and that our experienced team of artists supported the group to make creative inquiry of both the challenges and enriching perspective of life in a ‘new ground’ and the lived-experience of ‘home’.
Supported by The Community Relations Council through the CR/CD Small Grants Scheme.
Extracts from participants poems and prose:
Lamis Kalaf (Kurdish Syria)
ايديك و احب لمسه ايديك واتمنى الشمه رائحتك امي انت احسن امراه في الدنيا يا امي يا حبيبتي امي انت تعبتي عليه حملتني تسعه اشهر امي كبرتني وعلمتني وتعبت على وهي اد ما تعبت عليه امي حبيبتي وانت قلبي امي جنه اتمنى ارجع صغيره نتمنى انا واخواتي ونرجع صغار ولمه امي امي انت الدنيا امي انا شو عملت لك فقط قليل جدا امي انا اعطيك روحي حبيبتي يا امي القاك قريبا
Letter to my Mother
My dear Mum,
My wish is to meet you and
kneel to kiss your hands
to kiss the dust under your feet,
to become little again
to be in your arms,
I love the touch of your hands,
I wish to smell your scent,
you are my love,
you suffered a lot for me and as much as
you suffered, you are deep in my heart,
you, my paradise,
I wish to become little again
with my siblings
to gather again all together with you,
my whole world,
Mum, I will meet with you soon.
A small room
Full of furniture
Outside a calendula flower.
A room is melancholy.
Stefania Gualberti (Italy)
Sun shining on my legs and a fresh breeze,
birds’ songs from the garden, smell of laundry hanging to dry.
On the wall, casually hanging, a patchwork of a life together.
I play distractedly with our beautiful, fragile, and intricate shared leaf necklace and
suddenly I go back to the year 2001 when we are all leaving under the same roof.
I draw a map of objects in my life.
The blanket my nineteen years old mum knitted for me when I was born, and all my sisters used, and then gave me when I was pregnant. Surprisingly twenty-seven years later she had to look for the same pattern and make another identical one, I was having twins.
The portone which my grandpa opened all the time we returned to Sardinia, where I was born, my mum’s hometown. Times of warmth, family, aunties, cousins and loved and less loved uncles, being together, minestrina, pistoccus and the smell of coffee, zafferano, fireplace, celebrations, beautiful cold deep blue sea and restoring sun. It opened on a pebbled and glorious garden, always full of flowers, an olive tree, cats and the open arms of my nonna.
A winged bottle opener and corkscrew, Roby, which my dad with his strong and callus hands stained of cement would make talk and say jokes and go into all sort of adventures under attentive ears of curious daughters with open eyes and smiles bigger than their faces.
The wedding ring, with the name and the date of a promise made by two young, naïve and madly in love children who decided to grow up together and make up for a previous lost life.
The blankets, again, to close the circle, and Elia and Emma’s hospital bracelets: baby boy Gualberti 26/03/2011 5.25am; baby girl Gualberti 26/03/2011 5.50am. When I felt the strongest, most powerful, almost divine, and most vulnerable and fragile in my all life. When my heart expanded, when you came out of me through blood, tears and pain, you became a reality with the support of my love, my rock, my anchor and my mum who I could, only then, begin to forgive, understand. I look outside the window and under the changing sky I see the mountains, their outline, I feel at peace, from my window here in Belfast, or from my parent’s home in Viareggio or when I travel South and see the Mournes, I feel home.
Valeria Mazziotti (Italy)
Cammina in riva al Mare
Senti le fresche acque
Posa il tuo sguardo su qualsiasi cosa tu voglia
Percepisci l’onda fuori e dentro di te
Noi siamo Acqua
Il nostro sangue ed i nostri pensieri
sono fatti di essa
Siamo circondati dal blu
Lei è sempre con me
A casa, quando viaggio, quando
esco per una passeggiata a piedi o in bici.
Ho nuotato per avere nuovi occhi
e l’Oceano mi ha donato piccoli tesori
L’Acqua è Vita
Se chiudo i miei occhi
posso sentirmi in acqua
con mio Padre a fare tuffi
un’eco dalle profondità mi ricorda
tu sei libero
tu appartieni al Mare.
Acqua / Water
Walk by the Sea
Feel the fresh water
Pose your eyes on whatever you want
Perceive the wave outside and inside you
we are Water
our blood and our thoughts are made of it
we are surrounded by the blue
it is always with me
at home, when I travel,
when I go out for a walk or
for a ride
I swam for new eyes
and the Ocean gave to me little treasures
water is life
if I close my eyes
I can feel myself into the water
with my Father doing dips
a deep echo reminds me
you are free
you belong to the Sea.
La mia famiglia è un albero di Limoni
La mia famiglia è un albero di Limoni
con lunghe radici che affondano nel Mare.
Tutti i nostri ricordi
aono custoditi in una conchiglia
quando la porto al mio orecchio
inizia un canto.
Anche se pedalo lontano da casa
l’odore di zagara guarisce la mia anima.
My family is a lemon tree
My family is a lemon tree
with long roots that sink into the Sea.
All our memories
are kept in a shell
when I bring it to my ear
a song begins.
Even if I ride away from home
the scent of lemon blossom heals my soul.
Mihaela Draghia (Romania, Italy)
La mia valigia rossa e i miei sogni/ My red suitcase and my dreams
La mia valigia rossa
Ho lasciato per la prima volta
il mio paese di origine
Ero così giovane
la valigia così piccola
tanti grandi sogni a l’interno
Poi è arrivato il mio snowboard
il senso di libertà
Nel mezzo delle montagne giganti.
Adesso ho una moto
Io sono forte
Combatto per un sogno.
E la chiave della mia prima casa
Finalmente ho realizzato
il mio sogno più grande
dove riunirsi e condividere l’amore.
i miei occhiali da sole verdi
ed è il mio
estate, il mio mare
Ho un angolino
nel mio giardino che
anche se è buio.
Guardo il cielo
con il mio telescopio
l’Universo sopra di me.
Io ne faccio parte.
Sono come una piccola stella
che cerca di continuare a brillare.
My red suitcase
I left my country of origin for the first time
I was so young
the suitcase so small
so many big dreams inside.
Then it came my snowboard
the sense of freedom
The mids of giant mountains.
I have now a motorbike
I fight for a dream.
And the key of my first house
I finally realised my biggest dream
reunite and share love.
my green sunglasses
and it’s my
summer, my sea.
I have a little corner
in my garden
even if it is dark.
I look at the sky
with my telescope
the Universe above me.
I’m part of it.
I’m like a little star who is trying to keep
Mehrshad Esfandiari (Iran)
Photography from Mehrshad Esfandiari
My name is Mehrshad Esfandiari, I am from Iran and I’ve been living in Northern Ireland since 2016.
My job is a debt advisor trainee. My hobbies are cycling, jogging , walking , Karate and photography.
Nada Adam (Sudan)
Mud, clay and soil of Sudan
Mother gifted me this kettle
On my travels to Europe
At our home, coffee is sacred
It is ritualistic to sit around the table
Our big house
My sisters and brothers
In a frame
I go back to 2009
Time frozen in my memory still
We said our goodbyes
To the land
Then, to the home
Amanda Zine Suka (South Africa)
Six forty-five in the morning
I see her
My beautiful sister
She reaches her hand as I touch her
And I look
I remember the field of red roses
The blood-stained sheets
Sky so red
Then we embraced
She hasn’t seen me since I lost my hair.
Intliziyo yam iligazi
Ukuhamba ngenqwelo moya
Kuphambi kobusuku obandulela ndihambe
Ndiwajonga kabini amaxesha uqinisekisa
Kavita Thanki (Belfast ~ India ~ Africa)
Like a palm reader I see in my hand my life,
I see my web of life.
I see my mother knocking back and kneading,
a different bread to what my father makes:
the sourdough fermented and grown slow,
the rotli rolled thin and tipped from tawa to flame.
I see my dadabapu on his typewriter, only forefingers moving,
words flowing forth in a language I will never know;
while his wife, my dadima, wholly and efficiently
set every bone and muscle, every digit moving.
I see my Granda Shannon hand over his old Aran jumper
to be unpicked, skeined, washed, balled,
re-knit into something new.
It’s the way of my people, it’s what we’ve always done —
taking past lives from past places, far away and half-forgotten,
these clever, calloused hands know how
to reimagine, rewrite, re-combine.
I am living proof, a starter culture made
from chapatti atta.
Like a palm reader I see all the things a hand has done,
and all it’s yet to do.
Khanyisa Mafumo (South Africa)
Ek sein kinders in die straat / I see, children in the street
Ngi zwa… imoto kumatasa ingendlela yo ku phila, izinyathelo, ukuhleka,
ukuhleka, ukumemeza, umsindo wo muhle wezilwane
ngizwa ukuthula, ukukhala kwa ambulance ne msindo we zingoma
Imagine… in a conservatory, getting lost in the “inside out” being inside and exploring and experiencing the outside.
Being mesmerised by wonders of nature and connecting my inside, soul to the outside soul. Finding a balance of life.
Soms is dit gelukkig
Soms huil dit
Soms is dit vreedsaam
Soms is soos ek in baie manière
Dit is soms verbaas
Maar het tog n pragtige siel en atmosfeer
[Tsonga and English]
Hinkwaswo leswi ingaku hi mina; switarata, maxelo, vamakhelwani hinkwaswo ingaku hi mina.
Kuphensaphensa hi tindela hinkwato ka fambiwa, ka vuyiwa kustsakiwile, ka hlekiwa ka kwatiwa.
Minkarhi yi nwani ku thyakile, minkarhi yinwani ku basile…kuna mberha, xi vavisekile hi trauma, xitwa kuvava
Xa tikeriwa hi stress, Kambe handle ka swona xa hari kona, xina matimba
Xi ya mahlweni na vutomi
How I wish…(Ndza navela)
I lived by the sea; (ku tshama thlelo ka lwandle)
To see its wonderful waves (ku vona magandlati yo saseka)
Wave at me in joy, anger, stress or in mixed emotions.
To see the sea change at every chance it gets and see it be still..and connect or agree with it’s rhythm of life.