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Sunday, November 30, 2014


Contrary to the opinion of pessimists, it turns out wishing is hardly an exercise in futility when it comes to notions of justice and freedom.  Wishing is the invisible thread that stitches a community of like minds and visionaries together weaving a tapestry of truth and love.  This audacious act of declaring one's dreams no matter how big, has tremendous healing power.  It was all made vividly evident at the performing arts piece dreamed up by Davida Ingram and many others called, "I Wish a Mother Would..."

I received an email invitation about this event with the following description:

Join the interactive community art project "I Wish a Mother Would" as it explores dreams of a better world via oral histories, video and photography. Installed as a site-specific performance in the historic house museum of the James & Janie Washington Foundation this event includes a durational performance (3-4:30pm) and a community talk back including performers, designers and the project team starting at 5pm.

The event was completely sold out.  Luckily for me, I was a volunteer.  My main duty was to organize the flow of traffic to one of the exhibits in the greenhouse of a live dreamer.  I actually felt like a guardian and protector of the woman dressed in white who was sleeping in a bed, dreaming in public

Only a few people at a time were allowed to enter the greenhouse to view the live dreamer dreaming up dreams of a better future.  To enter the greenhouse one had to sing a song.  There was also an opportunity to write out additional wishes for the dreamer.  As the exhibit wound down, I was able to enter the greenhouse to see the dreamer for myself.  I sang Silent Night as it is one of my favorite songs.  

During the community talk back, the live dreamer shared with us that most of the songs she heard were of a religious bent.  I found that to be really interesting.  One might think a lullaby would be the theme.  Perhaps, religious songs are those songs one sings in the quiet of the night.  It definitely matched the ambiance of the exhibit with the soft lighting of the Christmas lights and the big fluffy bed.  It felt pretty magical.   

There were so many opportunities to boldly declare your wish for a better future.  Upon first arriving we were able to take a piece of cardboard and a Sharpee and write out our wishes using the phrase, "I wish a mother f----- would..."  You could then record your wish via audio and/or by posing with your sign while photographer Zorn B. Taylor snapped your photo.  It was nothing short of amazing.

The endearing quality that marked the evening is a credit to not only the art but the incredible space that hosted this piece.  If you have yet to visit the James and Janie Washington Foundation, it is a must see.  It was their home and everything has been preserved including the kitchen. 

Seeing the Root Woman, played by Chef Kristi "That Brown Girl" Brown-Wokoma, cooking yams in the kitchen evoked many pleasant memories of my grandmother.  My grandmother loved to cook and was usually in her garden or in the kitchen whipping up a feast.  The yam sculpture below was particularly moving.   

I had never seen nor touched actual cotton with the stem and prickly thorns but somehow I had seen those puffs of white and been pricked by those thorns a thousand times.  At least on an ancestral level.  

Rolling the stem with four white cotton puffs between my thumb and four fingers kept me calm in the moment.  I just wanted to weep.  I knew that if I did, I might not stop.  Even typing this now, my eyes are softly watering.  The emotional connection between myself and that cotton runs deep.  These live dreamers pictured below, passed out real cotton to the onlookers. 
We filled that space with wishes and were immediately transcended to a point in time where the intangibility of possibility and potential felt within our grasp.

[Editor's note: Special thank you to +NOURISHA K for taking these beautiful photos.  You made my editing pretty easy.  This is the last post in November for National Blog Posting Month aka NaBloPoMo.  30 days of posting has been successfully completed.  Thanks to all of you who read, commented and encouraged me to stick with it.  I feel truly blessed and inspired to blog more about all of the art in the world.  Again, thank you.]



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