About Origin Papers


Founded in 2017 by Alvin Kwesiga, Origin Papers took on new life with the addition of Tinthi Tembo and Anisa Ahmed, as partners in 2018. The guiding philosophy to OP is simple and pure, “I am because of you.” - This means that we are here to fully appreciate and communicate the human experience as authentically as possible. Rooted in our African background our focus is to address the visibility of the African diaspora in dominant media spaces.  


 Our objective is to tell the stories and bring people to a greater understanding of one another, the wealth of experience found in globalized creatives informs the content we aim to deliver. If you have ever seen yourself in another person, or felt an instant connection with a foreign land, Origin Papers is here to tell your stories.

Third Culture





A Third Culture Kid refers to a person who is born into a culture that is not the same as their parents. Maybe you’re the first generation of you family born in your new home country, maybe you speak one language at home, and another outside, maybe you feel more at home and more yourself in a setting that would surprise people if they knew. It is the kid who's packed their bags so often, they don't know where to call home. It is immigrant. The displaced. The lost, and the found.

We all have a world of mystery inside of us and as Origin Papers, we believe that it is worth exploring and understanding, because we’re about the people who make the things we care about.




Join us in creating

You can contribute to OP by reaching out and being a part of our community. One of our core values is to be interactive and responsive to all the people, who make up our network of creative collaborators. Our favourite collaborations come from people reaching out and including us in their lives.

Contact us

Meet our Creative Team

Creator- Emma Ovata.jpg

Emma Arkell

Director of Videography at Origin Papers, Emma wears multiple hats ouside of OP, as a documentary filmmaker, photographer, collage artist and aspiring journalist, currently based in so-called Vancouver. Originally from Kitchener, Ontario, Emma pinpoints the origin of her passion for art and grassroots organizing in the vibrant music scene she surrounded herself with while in high school. Now a guest on unceded Coast Salish territories, her  work explores social movements, sustainability, urban ecology, and mental health through a solutions-focused lens that is informed by intersectional feminism and decolonial theory. Ultimately, Emma aspires to utilize a media-fluid approach that draws on photography, video and text to create work that is critical of dominant narratives, explores historically undervalued perspectives, and increases visibility of working people who are creating change in their communities. Emma identifies as queer and uses she/her pronouns.

  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram

Moe Yang

Director of Photography and Assistant Creative Director, Moe is a multi-media talent. She is a filmmaker, photographer and student on the traditional, ancestral, unceded lands of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓-speaking xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. As a queer artist of Japanese-Taiwanese ancestry, she recognizes the power of storytelling as a method of healing and hopes to share the stories from her communities, for her communities. Moe’s debut short film John Dub: Life Goes On (2017) screened at festivals across North America, including Vancouver International Film Festival. Her photography has been published in Rookie Mag, Yahoo News Japan and the Photographic Journal. She is a Scorpio stellium and in her third year at the University of British Columbia, pursuing an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts between Asian Area Studies and Creative and Performing Arts. Moe uses she/her pronouns.

  • Instagram
Creator- Moe Yang.jpg
Creator-Max Mikelson.jpg

Max Mikelson

Max Mikelson is an artist, social activist, and the Creative/Technical Director of Origin Papers, a Black-owned multi-media collective. Working from his home, in the forests of the traditional hunting grounds of the Coast Salish & Squaxin Tribes. Mikelson employs symbolism in his colourful multi-media work to create bold and surreal images. Images that convey his sincere investigation of the authentic self.  Max uses he/him pronouns.

  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
Podcast 2.png

“A burden shared is a burden lifted”

-- We uplift and support creatives and you can too. Do your part to help fight for fair media representation and to end gatekeeping in creative spaces by supporting independent news. Black company founders are over mentored and under-invested, help end the imbalance

Meet our Founders

We aim to bridge the gap between local and foreign experience by sharing stories of TCK creatives. There is comfort in being a stranger in a strange place, a permanent tourist. It is a privileged position, and sometimes it is like living in an ivory tower, but the thing about towers is that you are painfully exposed. Exposed to double standards, injustice, and apathy on a scale most wouldn't believe. At a certain point you step out of your safe place wondering what to do with what you know, you have a duty.


Having found beauty across cultures and national boundaries, you have a duty.


Create, don’t hesitate.

Share and educate.

Enlighten and inspire.

Gather and prosper.



That means we need creatives to tell stories, make art and speak out. So if you believe we see eye to eye, then help us tell your story. We are in this together so our organization should reflect the world we want to create. A world in which connections are not bound by place of birth, religion, ethnicity, or country of residence. No matter where we are, we are one.

Tinthi Tembo

is proudly Zimbabwean born and recently became a permanent guest residing on unceded Coast Salish Territories. Tinthi is a Human Geographer and community advocate for diversity and inclusion. She moved to the country we now call Canada, alone at the age of 14, and spent her formative years observing the world and dissecting social environments around her. Tinthi aspired to live Ubuntu, understanding that her humanity is inextricably linked to others; and to inspire those around her to do the same. Tinthi minored in Critical Studies in Sexuality, a self-directed study, where she centred her research on critical examinations of race, sexuality and social justice.  Tinthi leads an entrepreneurial career, as the Co-Founder of Origin Papers, as well as, an art collective named Queens of Art and BIPOC-Creative Association. Tinthi is fully dedicated to decolonizing space and place, body and spirit. Tinthi uses she/her pronouns. 

  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
Founder- Tinthi Tembo.jpg
Founder-Alvin Kwesiga.jpg

Alvin Ndeebwa Kwesiga

is Ugandan born and has recently been living on unceeded indigenous land now called Toronto and Mississauga but belonging to the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnaabe, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. After having lived experience in countries from Southern and Northern Africa to Europe, Alvin has now temporarily settled in Canada. The focus of his studies reflecting his experiences as a young traveler - he pursued psychology, economics, and social entrepreneurship, and journalism. Now, as Co-Founder and Storyteller of Origin Papers, Kwesiga aims to create space, open dialogue, allow people to be themselves. This mission is a direct reflection of Ubuntu - a tribal term meaning “I am because of you” the root of most tribal cultures in various African societies with Bantu roots. Alvin uses he/him pronouns.

  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram

Anisa Ahmed

is Mogul, Afghan Pakistani born in America but raised a nomad - never planting foot too deep in any Earth. Anisa resides on the land of the Northern Paiute, the Southern Paiute, the Walapai, the Washoe, and the Shoshone ( now known as Nevada). Spending most her life in Southern and East African countries, Anisa developed a love for the art of story telling - practiced in various tribal cultures. This passion was carried through her years studying Creative Writing, and later on, teaching the American youth the academic English. As Co - Founder of Origin Papers, Anisa hopes to carry on the most ancient tradition of art of story telling - opening a space for peoples displaced, like herself, to share their own tales. Ahmed uses she/her pronouns.

  • Instagram
Creator-Anisa Ahmed.jpg
Podcast 2.png

Join us in creating

You can contribute to OP by reaching out and being a part of our community. One of our core values is to be interactive and responsive to all the people, who make up our network of creative collaborators. Our favourite collaborations come from people reaching out and including us in their lives.