Stories from the Diaspora: A Sense of Home

Qudsia Ashan's journey from Afghanistan to the Columbia River Gorge

This is part of Stories from the Diaspora, a program of Portland Meet Portland (PMP) from 2018–19 that centered and raised diaspora voices through inclusive and collaborative media. These stories originally appeared on PMP's website and have been slightly altered to accomodate their new home on Oregon Humanities' platform. Explore other stories from this project in the related stories column on the right.


Chapter One: Connections

In Chapter One of A Sense of Home, neighbors Qudsia Ashan and Maureen Michaelson meet for the very first time and learn that they share some amazing connections and coincidences in their life journeys. Listen to the podcast below to learn more about Qudsia's flight as a refugee from Afghanistan to the United States, and how her path has taken her from Kabul, to UCLA valedictorian, to the Columbia River Gorge. You can also download each episode of this incredible story via SoundCloud and please share with your own friends and neighbors across the greater Portland area.

Music Cues

Broke For Free - As Colorful As Ever

loscil - cotom

loscil - biced

loscil - The Making of Grief Point (instrumental)

loscil - Endless Falls

Blue Dot Sessions - Thread Caramb


Chapter Two: Gates of Kabul

In Chapter Two of A Sense of Home, Qudsia Ashan speaks about the day her father told the family they had to leave everything behind and secretly make their way out of Kabul, Afghanistan. Listen to the podcast below to learn more about Qudsia's flight as a refugee from Afghanistan to the United States, and how her path has taken her from Kabul, to UCLA valedictorian, to the Columbia River Gorge. 

Music Cues

Blue Dot Sessions - Exceter Lask

Incompetech - Lithium

Jesse Ahmann - Very low cello music with binaural effect, peaceful and mourning YouTube: Montana Cellist

Incompetech - Dark Fog

Blue Dot Sessions - Cicle DR Valga


Chapter Three: Escape

In Chapter Three of A Sense of Home, Qudsia shares the story of her mountain journey by jeep and on foot, in order to escape from persecution. Listen to the podcast below to learn more about Qudsia's flight as a refugee from Afghanistan to the United States, and how her path has taken her from Kabul, to UCLA valedictorian, to the Columbia River Gorge. 

Music Cues

loscil - cotom

Incompetech - Mystery Bazaar

Blue Dot Sessions - The Air Escaping

Incompetech - Echoes of Time


Chapter Four: The Oath

In Chapter Four of A Sense of Home, Qudsia Ashan explains what it meant to her to take the oath to become a US citizen and shares some exceptional advice from her father. Listen to the podcast below to learn more about Qudsia's flight as a refugee from Afghanistan to the United States, and how her path has taken her from Kabul, to UCLA valedictorian, to the Columbia River Gorge. 

Music Cues

Ustad Gada Mohammad - Sara Pola Mollan

Scorebuzz Music - Specialty Scifi Retro

loscil - Estuarine

Incompetech - Mesmerize

Blue Dot Sessions - Transit Alias 


Chapter Five: A Sense of History

 

In Chapter Five of A Sense of Home, Maureen Michaelson speaks about her experience with the Eagle Creek Fire, and both Manuel and Qudsia speak personally about why the Columbia River Gorge is a part of Oregon's natural heritage. Listen to the podcast below to learn more about Qudsia's flight as a refugee from Afghanistan to the United States, and how her path has taken her from Kabul, to UCLA valedictorian, to the Columbia River Gorge.

Music Cues

Kai Engel - Low Horizon

Blue Dot Sessions - The Telling

Blue Dot Sessions - Cicle Deserrat

Blue Dot Sessions - Vik Fenceta

Blue Dot Sessions - Base Camp


Storyteller Qudsia Ashan

Featuring Maureen Michaelson and Manuel Padilla

Program Director Jason Jones

Animator Laura Medina

A/V Editing J. Jones

Executive Director Manuel Padilla


Animator Laura Camila Medina, Artist's Statement

Through different mediums such as animation, printmaking, and painting my practice focuses on themes of memory, home, and cultural identity. My work emphasizes the questions arising from the experience living as an immigrant in the US and an outsider at home. Utilizing the method of memory palaces, I reconstruct spaces reflective of my cultural background through drawing, digital media, and sound installations. I utilize a unique combination of traditional mediums within digitally constructed spaces to create visual analogies of cultural hybridity. My art strives to express the complexities of immigrant experiences within the context of our current political and social situation.


Laura Camila Medina is an interdisciplinary artist born in Bogotá, Colombia and raised in Orlando, Florida. She bases her practice around uprooting and migration as a response to personal, cultural, and historical research. Medina is constantly inspired by her memories of home, her mother’s arepas, and her father’s soundtracks.

Medina's work has shown at the Center for Contemporary Art & Culture, Blackfish Gallery, PLANETA New York, and through the Nat Turner Project. She earned her BFA at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and is currently based in Portland, OR.

Contact Laura for art and commissions at lmedina@pnca.edu.

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