For a decade, Alixa and Naima, who define themselves as "boundary-breaking soul-sisters," have performed and taught all over the globe, empowering people to leverage their own creativity to inspire change.
Fueled by their belief that "creativity is the antidote to violence and destruction," they seek, through art, "to challenge injustice and misrepresentations in the mainstream media, to expose harsh realities and engender even more powerful hope" (Climbing PoeTree - Bio).
Pulsing above the instrumental and vocal background rhythms in this multimedia performance, the dual-voice style of their spoken-word mesmerizes. On the circular backdrop, evocative of a mandala, visuals shift from lush to industrial, vibrant to grey, amplifying their words. Alixa's and Naima's gestures add another element to the performance, particularly moving as they say "one hand clapping sounds a lot like the rhythms we lost in generations who sang even as they departed."
"When the Last Tree Stands Alone" raises awareness about grim climate changes escalating while most human beings stand by "too afraid to look where we're headed." Yet, instead of leaving viewers and listeners despondent, they insist "we were born right now for a reason," asking "what will be the message of the legacy we've left?" Urgency permeates the work, conveyed through image and sound, as well as through direct assertions such as "every moment, you are choosing to live or you are waiting."
Alixa and Naima also write curriculum, teaching frequently in high schools. I imagine this work woven into a lesson during biology, earth science, or AP Environmental, as a spark for discussion about climate policy in government or global studies classes, in English class alongside other poems that speak to the theme of environmental justice or that serve as calls to action, or in digital video or music or art classes as a spark to inspire collaboration between student artists across multiple forms of creative expression.