Editor’s note: This is part of “Four of a Kind,” a recurring Arts & Culture feature. Each month, four new artists share their takes on the local art scene. In addition to individual online posts, you can find all four features as a single spread in this week’s print edition.
Micah Mackenzie is an Asheville-based photographer.
Xpress: Is there an upcoming photography event happening in Asheville that you’re looking forward to seeing?
Mackenzie: I would highly recommend looking into Cat Ford-Coates, who works out of Atelier Unforgettable. She is killing it with The Portrait Masters and [Phoenix-based photographer] Sue Bryce. I’m a big fan of her journey.
Outside of photography, what other upcoming local arts happening intrigues you?
I’m looking forward to the LEAF Global Arts Festival, Thursday, Oct. 19-Sunday, Oct. 22, at Lake Eden in Black Mountain. It’s always a good time with friends, family and new acquaintances.
What current project are you working on that you’re especially excited about?
Hailing from Sumter, S.C., I felt a deep connection to the struggles and triumphs of my community, which drove me to embark on a transformative journey to Cuba in July. There, the rhythms of salsa seemed to echo the beats of my Southern roots, pulsating through the vibrant streets of Havana. My camera revealed faces etched with wisdom beyond their years — faces that mirrored the unbreakable strength I had witnessed back home. With each photograph, I unveiled Cuba’s enduring spirit, capturing threads of hope and determination that seemed woven into the fabric of time itself.
It was in Cuba’s stories that I discovered a striking resemblance to the narratives of the American South — communities shaped by resilience in the face of adversity. Through my lens, I traced common threads of kinship and shared cultural identity that united these seemingly distant worlds, erasing geographical boundaries with each captured moment.
In the warm embraces of the Cuban people, I found the heartbeat of a nation refusing to bow down to challenges, much like the unwavering spirit of the Southern communities I cherished. Upon returning, I channeled my experiences into a tale I titled “Threads of Unity,” which evolved into a celebration of the human spirit’s tenacity, a tribute to the enduring power of culture and a reminder of the shared hope that unites us all.