Atiim Chenzira is back at it with leading a band of creatives, but this time instead of strictly music he pulls from both is band leadership and his grass roots arts leadership. He assembled colleagues from both California and Maine to help bring the lyricism to life in his newest seven part art piece titled ‘Destiny Manifest’.

The invitation to perform an edgy historically based work was extended by both Portland Ovations & Indigo Arts Alliance, two arts organizations who frequently partner and focus on very different aspects of arts. PO focuses on Broadway Musical, Classical and Modern Dance, World Music and other cutting edge performance arts, and IAA focuses on fine arts and artist development in the African Diaspora to support people of African ancestry and of color emerge to see, experience and reach their full potential.

These two Maine based arts organizations were invited by the Kennedy Center to curate Maine based artists and produce a performance that would highlight Maine’s voices in a program titled ‘Arts Across America ‘, a program to uplift artists and showcase art from communities and regions across the country. Portland Ovations and Indigo Arts Alliance are calling their part of this 50 state series ‘Sacred Resonance’. This is a part of the Washington, D.C.-based John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Social Impact Initiatives. This free online programming will be available on Facebook Live, YouTube, and the Kennedy Center website.

Featured Maine artists include:

  • Firefly, a member of the Penobscot Nation and raised in his people’s ancient village at Indian Island, Maine in Firefly: Sacred Fire. A journey through sound, light and emotion from the ancient to the unknown. Deeply influenced by the traditions of his ancestors, Firefly performs both traditional hand drum, shaker and vocal songs as well as cutting edge musical compositions rooted in his ancestral traditions. A hyper creative, Firefly’s artistry involves powerful vocals, eye popping visuals and cutting-edge costumes created by himself and his team.
  • Maya Williams (pronouns they/she), Definitions of Home, a showcase of poems touching on mental health, suicide, and racism. Originally from Greensboro, North Carolina, Maya is a Black and Mixed Race suicide survivor residing in Portland since 2017. She has published poems with glitterMOB, The Portland Press Herald, Black Table Arts, Occulum, Littoral Books, Homology Lit, and more. Her work has garnered a Best of the Net Nominee and a PortFringe’s Audience Choice Award as well as residencies with Hewnoaks, Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA), and Voices of Our Nation Arts (VONA) Foundation. Maya hosts open mics on most Tuesday nights with Port Veritas.
  • Atiim Chenzira’s work titled ‘Destiny Manifest’ is a seven-part multi-media art piece utilizing his poetic spoken-word and Hip Hop lyricism to explore his ancestral experience. His expressive storytelling highlights this familial journey from the East Coast to the West and back. ‘Destiny Manifest’ interweaves Atiim’s personal journey as a husband, father, and “new Mainer,” into his American experience with the larger issues of racism, colonialism, capitalism, and displacement. 

By Ridah