Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Making HerStory Meets Dehejia Maat

It's been many years since HerStory creator, Michelle d. Parrish and poetress, Dehejia Maat first crossed paths spinning verses on the Open Mic scene along the gentrifying U Street corridor in Washington, DC. Parrish recalls the love bestowed upon her by Maat one nite at the Cave--a part of historic Bohemian Caverns in DC--when Parrish was to perform but had a sore throat. From her bag of all things awesome, Maat gave Parrish a fresh bag of vanilla tea to soothe her throat. From then on, Parrish knew what Maat was about: peace, love, and all things creative. So when the 2009 program for Making HerStory was being developed, it seemed fitting to invite Maat to perform as 2009 marks the first time the series has exhibited in DC.

HerStory interviewed Maat about her work and here is what she had to say:

Do you recall the first poem you ever wrote? How old were you? What was it about?

The first poem I ever wrote was for the Dogwood Tree outside my window where I grew up on 2nd Place in NW. I can still conjure the aroma of its flowers. I was in elementary school about 7 years old. I remember writing about the scent feeling like home, spring time bbq's in the back yard, and colorful birds on my windowsill eating the berries. I was a nature lover even back then, but aren't most children.

What impact do you want your creativity to have on the world?

The impact I want my creativity to have on the world is to inspire more creativity. To give people a view and a path out of the box that they think surrounds them.

When did you branch into visual art? What inspired you to branch out that way?

I started making collage at a young age and water painting with my momma. The same thing I do with my son. I've always been a visual artist but I've never shared that part of myself with anyone outside of my family. My collection has grown over the years from taking design and painting classes here and there. I think I'm ready and confident now to have it displayed. If I can face motherhood, I can face eyes ogling my paintings.

I know the spoken word is meaningful to you. When you approach a mic, what are you thinking?

Spoken word has given me a way to come out of myself and be myself at the same time. I found out that I really love the stage and that anything having to do with performance, I want to be involved in. When I approach the mic I'm always chanting. Never the same chant but always something beautiful like Om Bur Bhuvas Suvaha, The Gayatri Mantra or Aum Gan Ganapataya Namah, Ganesha's Mantra. It keeps me high, balanced, and focused on what I'm about to present.

If you could sum up the theme "feminine reflection" in ten words, what would they be?

Feminine Reflection: 10 words...hmmm + 1 for good karma...
"We will find self in time/Light flooding the cave/arriving"

Dehejia Maat is a poet, actress, yogi, and painter...a deep rooted original Earth woman who greets the dawn chanting while doing Surya Namaskar. She is the theater director for the Dragon Box Theater in Washington, DC and the hostess for the Innneractive Jam Session--a weekly event for artist to transcend the norm at the Artmosphere Cafe' in Mt. Rainier, MD. She has graced many stages from the Kennedy Center to local clubs on Historic U street and has rocked mics from Japan to Toronto. She is the Co-Creator of No Goddess Left Behind Writers Workshop and is a Yoga teacher for Mayor Fenty’s Step Up to Health program. Her current projects are "The Joy of Billie Holiday", an original one woman show and "The Yes that Leads to Infinity," her second book poetry.

1 comment:

  1. this is beautiful! Thank you Mikki for helping me to shine