Hidirtina (Sisters)

Ezra Wube

2018 | 00:09:14 | United States | English, Tigrinya | Color | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video

Collection: New Releases, Single Titles

Tags: Activism, Animation, Environment, Myth, Nature

Hidirtina (Sisters) is based on a mythology from Eritrea and northern Ethiopia. It is part of a larger story collection project that began in 2004. Folklorist Alan Dundes describes mythology as "a story that serves to define the fundamental worldview of a culture by explaining aspects of the natural world and delineating the psychological and social practices and ideals of a society". For this project, I sent out an open call for folklore to a Habesha diaspora (Ethiopian and Eritrean) New York City community email group. After meeting with and interviewing a volunteer I decided to make this animation short based on her shared story. This project is a means to memorize, recollect, and share knowledge, morals, and dreams from one’s cultural heritage. In this project, I also incorporated the process of developing the animation itself, such as email communications, cafe meetings, and a brief portrait of the storyteller. This is a means to highlight that folklore, like traditional cultures, is not static, they are always losing and gaining. Animation resonates with this state of transformation, always morphing into something new. Due to their open interpretation, each retelling is original, this project being just one version in their continuous reformation. 

The Hidirtina are a group of seven immortal sisters, it is believed that they live harmoniously in nature among wild animals. They are only visible to humans on rare occasions. Since the world is becoming more modernized they are becoming less visible. One day a hunter named Yohanes came into the woods for hunting. One of the sisters followed him and fell in love. He came across a deer and kneeled down to hunt her. Another sister saw him and came to rescue the deer. She warned him that he would be cursed if he killed the deer but he disobeyed. After he killed the dear, the sister who loved him told him that if he claimed onto a certain tree he would be saved. He took a piece from the tree and by carrying it lived for many years protected from the curse. One day he dropped his protective piece of wood into the river. He was then violently killed and eaten by vultures.

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Tales of Home, Chrysler Museum of Art
Norfolk, VA

Exhibitions + Festivals

Imagined Communities, 21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil, Sao Pulo, Brazil