We live in a diverse, multicultural melting pot, but do we know each other’s stories of where we come from? Do we know the struggles we endured that led us to where we are? For those of us speaking English as a second language, what is it like to speak a different tongue? What is it like to have dreams about the motherland, even when we’ve left it behind long ago?

Even if you are not an immigrant, you may have experienced various forms of exile, and longing for something that you can’t quite attain. As an immigrant, I spent years in nostalgia and sadness. I found myself alone with my nostalgia and struggled with my two identities, my Iranian roots and my acquired American self. But what I needed most was a connection to people so that I could share my thoughts, my confusion, my loneliness.

This is why I created the Immigrants & Exile: Stories of Nostalgia & Longing showcase series, to allow artists from anywhere in the world to come together and share their stories. I invite you to listen to these stories. No matter where we come from, our humanity binds us together.