rapper silvana imam’s short film explores her experiences as a refugee in sweden

What happens when you find yourself in a strange new world? Naturkraft gives a voice to the silenced stories.

by Frankie Dunn
16 December 2016, 9:12am

With a Syrian father and Lithuanian mother, Silvana Imam and her family sought refuge in Sweden when she was a child. Now a successful and openly gay rapper, her second album, Naturkraft - meaning 'force of nature' - is naturally very political, documenting displacement, navigating new cultures and the importance of crafting new traditions. "I have always wanted to build a world around my songs," she explains, "the album is like a story." And now, the album is like a film. Directed by Sheila Johansson and sitting at just over 16 minutes long, it is a beautiful, intimate project featuring highs, lows, and Silvana's adorable baby niece.

"When we came here as refugees 25 years ago, my parents' only goal was to give my sister and I a good life here in Sweden. A long journey that many make. Here are stories that never get heard. Stories that are silenced and reduced to 'where are you from then, really? What a strange name you have. Preserving our Swedish traditions'. Here in the periphery we are trying to fit in, eating herring at summer houses, we tried to understand a language, a jargon, that is not spoken at home. Nobody gives us space to tell our stories so we must fight for that space without anyone's help. I've been fighting for this location, waged war to tell my story and I need you to listen. I am Lithuanian-Arab and I'm SWEDISH. Third culture kid. Modern Swedish. Let us together create new traditions, we are all creators of our time."

Complete with English subtitles, you can learn some Swedish while you're at it!


Text Frankie Dunn

silvana imam
sheila johansson