As part of Inside Out Dorset 2021, Activate commissioned several works in response to Luke Jerram’s Gaia.
Primordial Mother Speaks for Herself is a poem made in response to Gaia by writer and storyteller Zakiya McKenzie.
Zakiya McKenzie is a PhD candidate with the Leverhulme Trust-supported Caribbean Literary Heritage project at the University of Exeter researching Black British journalism in the post-war period. Zakiya was the 2019 writer-in-residence for Forestry England during its centenary year. In Bristol, she was 2017 Black and Green Ambassador and is a volunteer at Ujima Community Radio station. She regularly leads nature, art and writing workshops, including one on Caribbean storytelling for primary schools. Her work has featured at the Cabot Institute for the Environment at the University of Bristol, the Institute for Modern Languages Research at the University of London, the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery, the Free Word Centre, at Cheltenham Literature Festival, on BBC’s Woman’s Hour, Farming Today and Inside Out West. She has written for Smallwoods Magazine, the Willowherb Review and BBC Wildlife Magazine.
Zakiya performed her poem in front of Gaia at Moors Valley Park and Forest during Inside Out Dorset 2021.
You can read the poem here and watch the video of Zakiya reading below. A captioned version is available at the link to the right of this page.