Immigration is a sacred story.
It's an adventure filled with emotion and grief.
I am in the process of living it ...
I went, in an airplane, from one continent to another.
I cannot stop thinking of those who leave their home on a raft,
often risking their life.
That deeply upsets me.
I do not forget it.
I am very conscious of it.
When I receive a letter, sometimes
Not from pain. From emotion.
Remarks recorded during an interview.
At the time of the interview, Emma Mbia had been living in
Montreal for two months.
Emma Mbia was born in Paris. Her father is Cameroonian, and her mother of
mixed heritage, with an English mother and an African-American father. She
discovered Africa at the age of 11, when her father took her there during
"My love of Africa came about little by little. It
not immediately evident. Also, it is thanks to my father that I love this
continent so much today." An education in the Sociology of Culture
in Cinema led her to conduct field studies in Cameroon. "I worked on
bikutsi music and dance. It was a way to better know my culture."
feels descended from two continents, Africa and Europe. "I feel I am
myself. Made from my encounters, my sensibilities. Africa is there. The West is
there. I have been offended sometimes. In France, they tell you that you are
black, and in Africa, that you are white. At some point, you no longer know
where you live. You must go through these periods of turbulence in order to
know where you position yourself. People are always putting labels on you. The
most important thing is to know, yourself, where you stand." Emma
lived more than 30 years in France.
In September 2004, she settled in Montreal. "I wanted to face new
things. It was necessary for me to lose all my reference points and to change
continents. I needed a cultural shock!" When she speaks about
leaving, beginning over again, integrating into a new society, she says,
"It is like a big building and you must go inside". One
priorities is to find a job. "I worked in the arts and in research.
Now I want to extend that knowledge into the world of media." For
Emma, to establish herself in Canada is to live another life adventure. "I
am here now. I am in the process of discovery."