Two recently graduated high school students, Jyoti Lama and Semira Mesfiin, start their summer learning about business, taking on leadership roles, and discovering the possibilities for art. For their first assignment they were tasked to interview each other.
"Hey Semira ," Jyoti looks up from her notepad. "How has your summer been so far?"
"I have been pretty busy, working at the Fred Meyers, but otherwise I like spending my free time listening to gospel music" Semira replies.
"What about you?"
"Ah, I decided to take on Muay Thai" Jyoti chirps up. "I have always wanted to learn some sort of martial arts so I started Thai kickboxing."
The two interns shuffle around and get comfortable on the ground. Once situated, they begin their interview.
Semira Mesfin (Back ground Artwork by Roger Wheeler)
"So what about art interests you?" Jyoti asks.
"For me art is interesting because everyone has their own point if view. Also, there are different ways you can express yourself, and I think that freedom is very valuable. Its fascinating to me how in art, being different is treasured and it really is an opportunity to display how unique people are."
"And you?" Semira asks.
Jyoti Lama (Background Artwork by TK Resident Crystal Fosnaugh)
"In my case, art has been a consistent factor in my life. I think there is something almost primitive about how when we are kids we are given paper and color pencils as a means to create. All our scribbles are encouraged. Growing up, I was never the best artist in the classroom, but even so, art was something I enjoyed and have come back to time and time again. This I am grateful for, because as people we are constantly changing and developing, so it is good to have a sense of normalcy. Art is normal to me."
"Hmm," Semira nods, "Moving on to the next question, where are you from Jyoti?"
"Nepal." Jyoti says, as a smile blooms on her face. "It is a small country wedged between China and India. The birth place of the Buddha, and home to the highest peak in the world, Mt. Everest. I was born there and then in late 2008, my family decided to move to the United States."
"Oh wow, interesting facts," Semira exclaimed.
"You immigrated here too right?"
"Yep and I am from Ethiopia." Semira also smiles. "Actually, did you know that in history Ethiopia is well known for art due to Axum. Axum is a city in northern Ethiopia which has innovative and beautiful architecture all littered through out the city. And like you I came to the United States in around 2013."
"I would love to visit Ethiopia someday, and you should be my personal guide." Jyoti playfully nudges Semira.
"Of course!" Semira chimes
"Alright tell me about your goals as an Artist, or leader in your community."
"Hmm, that's a good question." Semira says as she looks off to ponder the question. After a bit of deliberation, Semira opens up.
"From my experience, specifically in Ethiopia, most people don't value and don't understand the benefit of having art in their lives. The main reason is because first and foremost people are concerned with making a living, and art is not the safest career choice, financially. I hope to lead my community to become more open minded and appreciate art in many different ways. My wish is to educate people on how much art can positively impact society."
"You can do it Semira!"
"Haha, Thanks, Jyoti!"
Ethiopian Artist Afewerk Tekele - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afewerk_TekleCachedSimilar
"And you Jyoti?"
"Personally, art lets me be carefree. So, I do not want to be afraid to speak my mind through art. However, I still can't deny that art is a stigmatized career, and this often discourages people from a young age. This fall, I will be starting college and I am excited to pursue computer science, but I will not shy away from trying out animation or design as a possible minor. I want to set an example for young people of color and immigrants, to encourage them to chase after their dreams."
Stretching out their legs, the two interns hoist themselves up and off from the ground, looking forward to their summer. One that is promising of discovery, growth, and all in all, fun.