Who: Emma Fick, artist
Film by: UNO student and filmmaker Keith Dennis, Jr.
Editor’s note: This short documentary was produced, shot and edited by Keith Dennis, Jr., an undergraduate student in the Department of Film, School of the Arts at the University of New Orleans.
[Full transcription below]
“A snippet is a small piece of something. When I use that word about my work that means that it can be a building; it could be a person; it could be a little piece of history. It’s just all these little pieces of a place, of a culture, of a cultural identity all combined. I like the idea that the snippets, all the little pieces, are from very disparate elements. So, you know, a plate of food. An old man walking on the street. The piece of history. All of these things when you put them one after another, you get a more holistic understanding of the place through the little pieces.
I moved to Serbia to teach English on a Fulbright scholarship, and while I was there I was seeing all these incredible things unfolding before my eyes, and I wanted to communicate that culture with the people back home. I would meet someone at the market while I was buying apples, I would talk to them for five minutes, and they would invite me to their grandmother’s village in the countryside. I mean, things happen so fast. The people take you in saying, ‘Oh come to my house for lunch, I want you to come to my Slava,’ which is very important. They literally killed a pig in my honor. Like they hung up the pig and killed it and then roasted the whole pig because they were saying, ‘Oh you’re a guest. We want to welcome you as a guest.’
So, I started a Tumblr. I just was doing the illustrations for myself and to explain the culture that I had seen through all these little pieces, and then I just started doing it more and more. So, it started as one hour a day, then it was two hours a day. Then I was going to teach my classes at the University of Serbia, and I was coming home and just painting. So, it slowly became a kind of full-time job and snowballed from there. And eventually, it resulted in my publishing my first book of snippets.
Looking back at these, it’s kind of like looking at a stranger. There was no other big goal left on the horizon for me to accomplish. I was just staying because I loved the place, and I felt connected to it. I was doing promotion for the book, I was doing book signings, but I did have this feeling even though I didn’t want to leave Serbia I felt like I’ve done everything that I need to do.