Working with the Ethiopian Community in Seattle summer youth, we created a project exploring trans-generational exchange and re-enactment. Each week during the summer school program, we taught oral history skills and practiced interview techniques with youth participants so that they could gather oral histories from community elders. At the end of the summer, we staged a daylong re-enactment at Pritchard Island Beach of elders’ childhood stories. Other youth-led activities based on interviews included rock games, team handball, jump rope, a version of duck-duck-goose, swimming, barefoot soccer, and dancing. Members of the community center cooked some of the elders’ favorite snacks, like dabo kolo, fruits, and juice. Youth illustrated the different snacks and activities uncovered during the oral histories, and Michael and I composed these drawings into large images that we installed in the park to commemorate the stories and re-enactments.
Ethiopian Community in Seattle elders, youth and staff
Artist Michael Bernard Stevenson Jr.
Images by Jonathan Vanderweit, copyright 2018.
Between Two Shores was made possible with the generous support of Seattle Public Parks, the Office of Arts & Culture, and all the staff and community members at the Ethiopian Community in Seattle.