KazMega: “My art is my well of water.”
KazMega is an arts educator and organizer living in downtown Edmonton. He performs poetry, composes music, emcees, and is a visual artist.
The artist has a “deep history” with Heart of the City. He is the director of Hip Hop in the Park, an organization that has worked with Heart of the City for many years. KazMega has hosted and participated with the Beat Stage since its founding. He says, “It’s one of those things where I don’t remember not doing it, so there’s definitely history.”
I asked KazMega what hip hop means to him. “Hip hop, historically in its genesis, has always been a community-based culture and has to do with interacting with members of the community through art,” he says. “A lot of people understand hip hop as a genre of music, but I understand it as a way of living. So for me, it helps govern how I operate my day-to-day life, and how I make decisions, and where my values lie, so it’s pretty important to me.”
KazMega told me a little bit about working in different mediums of art. “The visual arts, emceeing and composing, those are all art forms that I switch between. They are super important to me, how I express myself. I also think it’s how I don’t burn out. My art is my well of water. When I feel like I’m burning, it’s like I’m on fire and ready to burn out. I head to my art forms which sort of extinguishes that fire when it would have been a burnout. It’s life force to me. It means everything.”
He has been working on a project called “W.A.T.A.”
“It’s a documentation of the last four years and the pieces all kind of all fit together. They all have a theme of water. W.A.T.A spells Water. It’s almost entirely about my relationship to water, our relationship with water, and the relationship that Alberta has to water specifically,” KazMega explains.
“I learned that there are places in Alberta that have undrinkable water. I learned this four years ago. This is old news to me. This needs to be something that’s in the mainstream media now. At the time people were talking about Michigan having unclean water and undrinkable water, but not talking about Alberta having undrinkable water. The project is four years of documenting my relationship to Alberta, Alberta’s relationship to water, the world’s relationship to water, the world’s relationship to Alberta, and Edmonton’s relationship to Alberta.”
You can check out KazMega’s work, including W.A.T.A., at KazMega.com.
Corine Demas serves as volunteer President and Spoken Word Director of the Heart of the City Festival Society of Edmonton. Corine is passionate about poetry, storytelling, and her city, Edmonton. She lives in McCauley.