The World According to Ariana Delawari Interview by Paula Goldstein
Do you think your fathers presence in Afghanistan politically made you more active in politics than your peers at school?
Absolutely. I didn’t realize it as a child growing up. It was just my reality. I was growing up making music videos dressed as madonna in our LA suburban backyard while my father was having meetings with Afghan Mujahideen members at our kitchen table. It wasn’t until I was in college studying film that I really began to understand the meaning of my life and why I was born into the family I was born into. Cause I’m definitely both – I’m an American artist with certain pop sensibilities, yet I’m truly Afghan in my blood and soul. The more I traveled to Afghanistan my feelings grew stronger. My bond became really deep. Then in the last few years I am noticing how my international relations are expanding to the world stage. And I see my role deepening through both my art and activism. I come from a long line of diplomats on my father’s side. So it’s in my blood, whether I like it or not. My mother was also a big influence on me in this way. She is Afghan and Sicilian and speaks 6 languages. Her Afghan father spoke 10 languages. She raised us to always fight for the underdog. She met all of these revolutionaries in her life – Che Guevarra, Fidel Castro, Malcolm X. Malcolm X was actually her friend. Her story is a movie in and of itself. She grew up as the 6th child in pretty much the only muslim family in New Jersey in the 40s and 50s. So you can imagine the prejudice she experienced. My mom is like fire and my dad is like water. Their approach to life is very different, but their hearts beat to the same drum.
Did you travel a lot as a child?
Yes, I was very blessed. My parents are very international people. Travel was always very important to them. I also have cousins all over the world. So we traveled to France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Amsterdam, and places within the U.S. as well. I distinctly remember how magical Portugal was when I was a child. I remember being so fascinated by the castles we visited there. It wasn’t until I was a bit older that I started traveling to places like Afghanistan, India, the UAE, Africa, South America and so on.
Where do you call home ?
Los Angeles and Kabul. But I feel like it’s changing. I feel like I will be traveling so much in my life, and I hope to have a few different countries that I call home. And I definitely want to make art in different countries. I really don’t want to live my life in one country. It seems really archaic to me. We are global now, its 2013. In addition to Afghanistan, I am totally in love with Brazil. So I definitely see myself in Brazil a lot in the future. Paris as well. I hope to spend some time there as well.
You undertook this big journey to Afghanistan as a very young woman? What advice would you have to other girls wanting to undertake what some may see as dangerous adventures?
My advice is to follow your heart. Take big risks if they feel right. Ask advice, but don’t always listen. Whatever you do, do not spend your time trying to impress boys. They will be far more interested in you if YOU are INTERESTED in your life, the world, art, humanity, and the earth. Pop culture is awesome- music, fashion, and cinema are all beautiful parts of life – but don’t spend all of your time on the scene. You need to dig deeper into what is going on on this planet to have anything interesting to offer to that scene. It will push our culture forward into a more interesting future than if you just regurgitate what is around you. So spend some time alone, facing yourself, learning your journey. And when people say a place is “too dangerous” it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go there. Just take precautions and set a good intention. If we were to all travel more to these places they would become safer sheerly by the number of people increasing. Life isn’t meant for us to just feel safe and be liked. We are here to learn, evolve, change things, and experience this world. We are here to move things. So dig deep and do the work. Shed the skin. And be reborn into something more beautiful. Then do it again… and again… till you leave your body.