words and art by w a l t e r w s m i t h

Posts tagged “Philadelphia

Urban Contemplation 07: On Either Side of that Door It’s the Same

The city series….

Towards the open door….

caught in between

feeling things folding inward

there i stand

seeing things unknown

a future with no past

a past with no ending…

caught in between

magic and lost

a guiding light

a promised home

and there i stand…

with my intangible destiny

at the crossroad of life

  before…

the uncertain door….

Featured video for this post … the artist “A Dancing Beggar” and the song “Returning” from the CD “Follow the Dark as if it Were Light”.

http://youtu.be/iziXU3uV8oA

On either side of that door it's the same

The ambiguities of life are like the opening of a door. We never know for sure what we will discover on the other side.

But one thing is certain… on either side of that door it’s the samethere’s memory and hope.

What are your thoughts? When you arrive at that “uncertain door” what is your reaction? What is your hope?

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Urban Contemplation: 06 – Dreams that Never Breach the Walls of Sleep

The city series….

Dreams that never breach the walls of sleep….

Urban decay a place of broken dreams

The dreams that search for the freedom from sleep….


Urban Contemplation 05

The city series….

The Door (Recovery Remix 2011)

Transformation: finding new places to find oneself

The door that leads from the city


Urban Contemplation 04

The city series….

Across the River the City that Sleeps with Dreams….

The city that sleeps with dreams


Urban Contemplation 03

The city series….

Maybe Tomorrow a Better Possibility (Recovery Remix 2011)

8 a.m.

tell me the lies

say that you love me

come back to haunt me

for days without end

and nights without rest

the bittersweet siren call

the addict’s sad song

3 a.m.

This post is dedicated to a dear friend, may he rest in peace. It was his kind, centered, and wise words that showed me the way to a better tomorrow.


Urban Contemplation 02

The city series….

The Playground (Recovery Remix 2011)….

Take me away from the place where all this started…this desire.

The playground


How Can I know If You Believe In Me (a short reprise)

on a sea of glass

a reflection of what you believe

is it me

or my imagination

that is dreaming

believing in

the beautiful times gone by

and forgotten moments

now and forever

— for us

Now and forever believe in me


Life on the Edge of Nothingness

Remove yourself from the painful past and uncertain future

Sometimes in the waking we often remember that life exist with its
own set of difficulties. It seems as if we are living in perpetual change and in
transitional states of being. We are confronted with interpersonal
relationships that need our undivided attention, support, and unwavering love—while
simultaneously we must seek solutions to a world struggling with civil,
political and social unrest. It is a monumental task at times to remove oneself
from the painful past and an uncertain future. But for the sake of the communities
we live in, and our children—we must
take that leap of faith i.e. believe in something greater than ourselves,
struggle against all odds, and see beyond living on the edge of nothingness.

This piece entitled “Remove Yourself from the Painful Past and
Uncertain Future” is a reminder of how we must move from one place to another
throughout our lives, both figuratively and literally. Sometimes there is pain involved in that move. I created this piece
back in 2003 when I was going through a period of personal change, and
recollection. It was one of a series of works that reflected on a transitional time
in my life, where I needed to migrate both physically and emotionally. Part of
that process was a physical move from Pennsylvania to South Carolina.
The other part of that move was internal—from a place on the edge of nothingness—to
a place on the edge of everything….

I found that a place on the edge of everything is a beautiful place indeed.


The Fun House @ Highwire Gallery: 1991 / Dreaming in Future Tense / a 2011 remix

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“Sometimes we turn the pages in the Book of Memories and come to remember the children who dream in future tense”…..

The Highwire Gallery production of The Fun House
workshop began in March 1991 at the Sayre Morris Community Center in West
Philadelphia and concluded with a performance in May. Funded by the PA Council
on the Arts, the goal was to bring together a group of children and introduce
them to the arts. Our focus would be on dance, performance, music and the visual
arts. Another important part of the workshop was for it to be a community
service, which merged different ethnic backgrounds and communities. For the
eleven girls who participated in the workshop, the hope was to inspire personal
challenges and the pursuit of their dreams. Everyone involved, the artists of
Highwire Gallery, the kids, Empress our musical director, Sandra Lynn our choreographer,
and “DADA” (Dancers Against Drug Abuse) met the challenge and worked hard to
make the program a huge success.

How do we encourage our children to dream, a dream that
inspires, enriches and motivates them to reach for the sky, and to touch just one of the millions of snowflakes that
can be found in the realm of possibilities? How do we lead them by the hand,
through the garden of hopes and dreams?

The Kids at Sandy Beach 2011

I think we do it one child at a time, one school at a time, one
project at a time, and as one community. Children love to discover, and be creative.
I strongly believe that the arts will provide them with the tools they will need for exploring their
imagination and giving birth to their dreams.

What do you feel is our children’s greatest need? What resources in our society would you like to see be provided for the well being and growth of our children? Do you believe that the arts, especially at a young age, is a vital tool for encouraging creative thinking and problem solving?

What do you think?

Select the link below for a dream-like journey into a contemporary child’s lullaby.

http://youtu.be/p3HGyXa0mjM

Winter Poem by Nikki Giovanni 

once a snowflake fell

on my brow and i loved

it so much and i kissed

it and it was happy and called its cousins

and brothers and a web

of snow engulfed me then

i reached to love them all

and i squeezed them and they became

a spring rain and i stood perfectly

still and was a flower

— Author and poet Nikki Giovanni

From “The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni”

And last but not least in this journey of dreams…a short animation.

http://youtu.be/e-sj8_UvD2A


Maybe Tomorrow a Better Possibility / Resolution and Redemption

http://youtu.be/6Gc0oD7okEk

Maybe Tomorrow a Better Possibility / Resolution and Redemption was first conceived as a collaborative project with video artist Walter Smith and fellow artist / singer / actor and friend, Ronald Freeman in 1994. The emotional impetus for the project was the ever increasing urban decay surrounding us in Philadelphia. Through substance abuse, drug warfare, and a rapid deterioration of its infrastructure, we came to see our beloved city in a struggle for survival. The original song, Hunger for Holiness, which accompanied the original video was written and sang by Ronald. The composition sought to give insight to the problems and plight of the urban construct and hope for a better tomorrow. In this remixed version, a dreamlike jazzy trance score replaces the composition to create an otherworldly sense of ambiguity, but again hope.

Maybe Tomorrow a Better Possibility / A Self Portrait of Resolution and Redemption