From Lubbock with Love: CED Alum Reminisces on Her Hometown in New Documentary
The Houston Chronicle
November 7, 2018
Photo courtesy Nadia Shihab
Dominated by a nostalgia for her youth and hometown, hardly a moment passes where Nadia Shihab’s (M.C.P. ‘09) childhood does not act like a guiding compass.
Shihab has centered her love for her hometown of Lubbock, Texas, and its “windswept plains, the open sky, the friendly people and the home in which she came of age” into her new documentary, Jaddoland. The film premiered at the New Orleans Film Festival and Houston Cinema Arts Festival in November.
“I was interested in making a film about my home,” Shihab says. “At a certain point, I realized I couldn’t make a film about my home without looking closely at my mother and my relationship with her. My mother is an artist. It wasn’t until recently that I realized the impact that she had had on my way of seeing the world.”
Not only does Jaddoland act as an ode to her hometown and her mother, but Shihab’s documentary dictates the multifaceted nature of her position in her community—living as the daughter of Iraqi immigrants in a conservative, white Texas town. Contrastingly, however, Shihab’s experience evaded any expected animosity or predictable resentment of others.
“Whether people are talking about Middle America or immigrant communities, there’s this way of speaking about ‘the other’ that is so reductive, and I didn’t experience life this way,” she continues. “I saw layers, I saw complexity and I saw the ways in which many people I grew up with had these hybrid identities, whether you were the child of immigrants or whether you were my working-class next-door neighbor who was fixing cars.”
“When I moved away from Lubbock, I never had a sense of shame growing up there,” she says. “When I moved away to Austin and then eventually California, I’d tell people I was from Lubbock and they’d get these looks and people would tell me, ‘Oh, that’s the armpit of Texas.’ I’d never heard that. Nobody told me that growing up.
“After I had left my home, I had this deep longing for it,” she adds. “And every time I would return, I would see the beauty there. Lubbock has the most incredible skies that I’ve ever seen. … The light there is really wonderful, and I really tried to shoot only with natural light to really capture the way in which I experienced life there. And I feel the longing I had for my home after I had left in some ways parallels the longing my mother had for her home in Iraq after she left.”
Currently, Shihab resides in Oakland and has developed her career within the industry of community development and affordable housing. Her professional pursuits are complemented by her passions of movie-making and a new baby.
Nevertheless, Jaddoland emphasizes the idea that Lubbock is Shihab’s first and final home. As a reminder of her mother’s artistry and her diverse ancestry, Shihab keeps returning to the city. “I’m hoping to go back this Christmas,” she said. “I miss it.”
For a closer look at the intriguing documentary, read the full article here.