BLACK ARTISTS – THE JOURNEY – AUGUST 2017.

It fell right into place. A few weeks of house sitting in Brighton allowed me to finish organising storage, paper work and equipment. Next stop – Exmoor. Each day is a new step in getting my head around this adventure. This new life. I know the point of it all. What do you need? What don’t you need? And what can you let go?

The Black Artist Walk – is part of a U.K. wide project to bring artists who identify as black together (you discuss what you mean by “black”). To raise their profile, gain better funding or resources, to celebrate their work and grow. As individuals and as a community.

I had already attended their events in Windsor and Birmingham. This was a unique chance to spend time helping and participating. A simple plan. Bring artists together for four days. Eat, walk,perform,discuss,laugh,cry, share works in progress, plan and enjoy whatever comes up. The first stop was Exmoor National Park, Somerset and Devon – I was struck by the silence at our centre. Total. No traffic noise, sirens, shouting, neighbours, no anything. No mobile signal + limited or no internet and phone calls = JOY. Then to Haworth Youth Hostel, West Yorkshire. A grand building with an impressive wood lined hall and stairway. Bronte country – or at least the town they lived in. The final venue was Osmotherley(Cote Ghyll Mill) in North Yorkshire. And a chance to experience Whitby with its connections to Bram Stoker and his gothic novel, Dracula. The venues were important but what made each section special and different was the unique combination of black artists. Flowing together with the greatest of ease. Being in an all black environment is special. There are certain things that you don’t have to explain. Certain things you can take for granted. The others have some idea of and empathy with your experiences, regardless of gender for instance. There are conversations that we can safely have about blackness, ancestors, what inspires our creativity, our feelings and hopes. The life of being black and an artist. It is all so inspiring, fulfilling, expanding and nourishing. Each night some combination of the artists present gave a performance or presentation of or about their work. A unique, personal and heartfelt sharing. For me it was both emotional and invigorating. Day to day life has a way of becoming a barrier to some of our creativity. But here, in this experience you can remove those barriers and see for a while. Or longer – you choose.

There was a definite feeling of something happening to me. Some change, or process or movement in progress and coming. Just don’t know what. And that is o.k. It is really relaxing to just let go and let be. The journey works it out. It is like calling bingo numbers – shuffle it up and use what pop’s out. This is less about the station and more about the train ride. Travel first class and enjoy the view. It’s  happening, bathe in it, accept it all, reflecting and being open to what comes.

              THE GHOSTS OF RACISM HAUNTING THE U.S.A.

There is too much noise about the U.S.A. transmitted across the world. Music, film, trump, McDonalds. And this stupid man – take his bloody twitter account away. They voted for a white man, who had the best education possible (well good, expensive schooling) who cant string a coherent sentence together. But the black guy before him was stupid? American white noise is given too much credence. But I notice strongly as a black man, how the flag and the anthem come before discussing the murder of black men by the Police. The people supposed to protect them. Or how white men are never terrorists. Because as soon as you admit that. You admit your true selves. 

I wonder how my white friends would feel if that was their lifelong, not just daily, but always experience? Knowing that your son, nephew, uncle, brother, father, husband friend may not come home today. And when you see his cold, lifeless body. You have to look at the back for bullet holes. And when you ask questions you are told not to be aggressive. His hands were in the air but the officer felt threatened. The officer still has a job because “blue lives matter”. When sports players speak up they are told be quiet. Perform for us. That’s what we pay you all that money for. What is it like to live with that underlying narrative. Do you tell your men to keep going or not bother? And when the president, a man evidently scared of non-white people says. Flag first. Lives second. What do you think? And will you say “all lives matter”. That is code. Code for I don’t want to really discuss racism, prejudice, discrimination because the spotlight turns 360°. It may turn to me. And when my white friends say “hi”. What do they see? No colour? Just me? And there is a police officer – what does he see?  Doesn’t matter to me – its not my weight.

Racism is your problem and your pain and your truth. Not mine.

 What I see is the most important thing!!

“I am the captain if my soul”. William Ernest Henley.

“I know where I am going…” Muhammad Ali.

K.S.

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