Tribute to my father

When I was not yet three years old, John Richard and Grace Elizabeth Ingram adopted me from an orphanage in southwest London. At the time, my dad was the minister of a thriving church and I was the fourth (and youngest) adopted kid in my family. My heritage is of African descent and my adoptive parents are Caucasian. When I was four, a stroke left my father paralysed down his left side; he died when I was 18.

Due to the stroke, it was difficult for dad to speak so we spent countless hours communicating by playing games of dominoes. Dad would rest his paralysed arm on his card table and play a ferocious game of dominoes with his “good arm.” Invariably he won. Ironically, my dad’s nickname for me was “Topsy.” Even if I didn’t win against him at dominoes he expected me to come top of the class in all my school subjects. I did my best not to let him down.

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If I quiet the voices in my head I can still hear the cranky squeaks of his wheelchair. The clicking made by the calipers that were attached to his
legs below the knee. The incessant wheeze from the asthma that attended the paralysis. His body was his burden.

As a child there were times when I longed to pick him up and carry him on my back. Far and away from his wheelchair and back to the fleeting memory I had of him as my able-bodied dad. Now that I’m an adult, I believe there are no accidents. My dad is my role model and I have found my dream job improving the lives of persons with disabilities in Sierra Leone, West Africa.

Thank you dad! Happy Father’s Day.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra, Extra

BUZZ…Buzz_at_workThis week’s WordPress Photo Challenge asks us to share a photograph with something extra; something with unexpected detail that makes that image all the more special.

For me … the unexpected detail is in this man’s expression.

The sadness embedded in his concentration. This is a photograph of my friend “Buzz” writing poetry outside a coffee shop in Brighton, England.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/extra-extra/

Weekly Photo Challenge – Room

A classroom in a village school in Hastings, Sierra Leone, West Africa.
village_schoolSierra Leone is struggling to get back on its feet after a devastating civil war that lasted more than a decade.
Somebody_DeskI took these photographs in May 2014.Somebody_ChairThe civil war ended in 2002.

The A-List

widewater

Imagine yourself born with a different skin colour.

Which colour(s) would you superimpose onto your DNA?

Who’s looking at you now?

Do you feel your privileges taken away?

Do you feel enlightened?

At peace?

On top of the world?

As rich as can be?

Experimental?

Full of promise?

A ghost?

On the A-List?

Rebirth

rebirth

Treat with care
a still image
that an actor could bring to life.

A black-and-white photograph of a baby
Held at arms-length by a midwife – the girl that nobody wanted -
who had little choice but to re-enact this dream called life.

Is it possible to be born again?
To REBIRTH?

An angel is
brought to Earth
on the wings of her fables
about changing the world.

Begin softly this new rhyme in her body. With the title “Human Parade”.

Her rebirth is the gift of traveling to the corners of the Earth and sharing the news that she’s arrived.

I’m dreaming of the hill where you are…

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Fantasy

Earth,wind,fire-6

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

Where do we go when we die on the inside?
basquiatDo we rupture our attachment to family? Our daily bread?
1basquiatOur ability to mimic breath?
bas-no-relief-3Jean-Michel Basquiat died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27 in 1988.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/weekly-photo-challenge-inside-2/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Suspended in Paris

pots pots_1037

Illuminated cooking pots suspended from a 19th century building in the 6th arrondissement in Paris.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/photo-challenge-perspective/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective

AgechangeOver the years we age and change our perspective.
4AgeperspectiveThrough the looking glass.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/photo-challenge-perspective/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Abandoned

dacostaiAre my dreams worth salvaging or should I abandon them immediately?

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/photo-challenge-abandoned/

EXPOSURE

Polio in Sierra Leone

British award-winning writer and documentary filmmaker Michele D’Acosta is seeking to transform the lives of 170 African polio victims who are struggling to stay alive in the former British colony of Sierra Leone.

With the help of an international photography competition, D’Acosta’s goal is to bring global attention to the desperate plight of these forgotten people – and use her photo-journalism as a tool to help leverage medical attention, food, clean water and proper housing for the men, women and children that live in cramped and unsanitary conditions in a bombed out building on Pademba Road, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Michele D’Acosta began her film and television career as a reporter for the BBC – reporting on the break-up of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and then going on to produce a slew of television documentaries with the high profile and controversial director, Nick Broomfield. However, it wasn’t until D’Acosta had a wake-up call to change her life from television producer to a photographer and filmmaker working for positive social change that she took (for her) the unusual step of submitting her images of polio victims to the fifth annual EXPOSURE photography competition hosted by the See Me Gallery in New York City.

The winner of the EXPOSURE competition will be decided by public vote. More importantly, if she wins, D’Acosta will donate the winning prize money of $1,500 to set up a fund to kick-start a lifeline of financial support and medical help for these forgotten polio victims.

It is Michele’s personal belief that a country is judged by the wellbeing of its most vulnerable citizens. Sierra Leone is one of the ten poorest countries in the world and one of top ten diamond producing countries in the world.  In supporting this critical Worldwide Wave of Action — please join her in taking action on behalf of disabled people whose plight is invisible to the mainstream media.

To vote now, click on https://icosta.see.me/exposure2014. Voting closes on Monday March 31st, 2014.

For more information, Michele can be reached at Michele@thepeaceproject.com By phone on +44 (0) 7417436097, on Twitter @michelepeaceday or Skype at micheleadacosta.

Thank you so much. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Universal Colors

Universal Colors

The color magenta is one of universal harmony and emotional balance.

It is spiritual yet practical, encouraging common sense and a balanced outlook on life.

Magenta influences our whole personal and spiritual development. It strengthens our intuition and psychic ability while assisting us to rise above the everyday dramas of our daily life to experience a greater level of awareness and knowledge.

This color is an instrument of change and transformation; it helps to release old emotional patterns that prevent personal and spiritual development and aids us in moving forward.

In the meaning of colors, magenta represents universal love at its highest level.

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International Call for Artists

Victory

PEACE, LOVE & UNDERSTANDING

The theme for The Peace Project‘s 4th Annual Call for Artists is “Peace, Love & Understanding.”

This international juried art competition and exhibition connects peace-minded individuals everywhere in the pursuit of a better world that art can help create.

I wish to invite all the amazing artists and bloggers on WordPress to submit your vision of “Peace, Love & Understanding” to this art competition that I’ve been involved with since its inception in 2010.

AWARDS

Best of Show $1,000 Cash
Peace Maker Awards (2) $ 300 Cash
Color Awards (5) Art Set (valued at $200) compliments of Prismacolor
Inspiration Awards (7) 2013 Commemorative Peace Project Book
All awardees will also receive a copy of The Best of Elvis Costello, which includes his track (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Deadline for submissions is 2pm, USA Pacific Time, August 16th, 2013.

Open to all visual artists worldwide.

Artist must be a member of TheWhole9.com and have a completed profile. (There is no cost to become a member. Click http://www.thewhole9.com.)

Work must be two-dimensional and original work may be any medium.

Original canvas may be any size, however, submitted artwork must be cropped to square as all selected pieces will be printed and mounted (by The Whole 9) on 1 foot x 1 foot panels (approximately 30.5cm x 30.5cm) for the exhibition.

make-peace-exhibit-2012

A short explanation of the artist’s vision about the piece must be included, along with a description of the medium.

150 submissions will be selected for inclusion in exhibition.

If selected, artist must be able to provide a high-quality, high-resolution file (minimum of 300 dpi) of image that will be printed and mounted on a panel.

Artists retain rights to submitted works, but grant The Whole 9 and The Peace Project rights to the digital reproduction of their submission(s) to include in The Peace Project’s traveling exhibition, commemorative book, and any other merchandise produced to raise funds for The Peace Project or promotion of The Peace Project. ALL proceeds from sales of artwork and merchandise will be used to transform lives through Peace Project initiatives.

SUBMISSION FEE

$10 per piece paid when piece is submitted online. Your submission will not be visible until the fee is paid.

There is no limit to the number of works that may be submitted.

More than one piece from an artist may be selected and included in the exhibit.

DEADLINES

Entries must be submitted online by 2pm Pacific Time, Friday, August 16th, 2013.

Notification of juried results will be announced by September 7th, 2013.

EMPOWERED PARTICIPATION

The Peace Project and The Whole 9 are conceived upon the philosophy of inclusion — encouraging people from all cultures, religions, and creative walks of life, to participate, connect, share resources, and help find solutions for a better world. We will gladly waive the fee for any artist (especially artists outside of North America) that wants to participate but is unable to do so because of the submission fee or because PayPal is not used in your country.

Please follow the submission instructions and when you get to the payment page, log out and send an email to thepeaceproject@thewhole9.com and we will post your submission.

Learn about what The Peace Project has accomplished with the help of artists worldwide by visiting http://www.thepeaceproject.com

MARK ACETELLI & THE WAITING

PEACE TRAVELS

This exhibition will be unveiled on World Peace Day, September 21st at Affair of the Arts in Culver City, CA, and will then makes stops throughout the United States. Confirmed appearances include:

September 21st & 22nd — Affair of the Arts, Culver City, CA

October 3rd — Evening Reception, Landmark Arts Building, Chelsea, NY

October 5th — Open House, Landmark Arts Building, Chelsea, NY

October 12th — 29 Pieces, Dallas, TX

November 1st — Long Beach First Fridays (in conjunction with Gallery Expo), Long Beach, CA

November 23rd — The Whole 9 Gallery, Culver City, CA

Early 2014 — San Francisco, CA

Thank you and we look forward to receiving your artwork.

Peace and blessings,

Michele

PAY DAY Thursdays: Paying it Forward, featuring Michele D’Acosta

Michele D'Acosta:

My thanks to Jennifer David at http://writingsofamrs.wordpress.com/ for featuring my work on PAY DAY Thursdays. Peace and blessings, everyone. Much love. Michele x

Originally posted on Writings of a Mrs:

So here we are again with another Pay Day Thursday.

I have been so enjoying doing these Thursdays and having the opportunity to work with so many fabulous artists.
This week I would like to introduce you to Michele.  http://micheledacosta.wordpress.com/ She is a beautiful person with a fantastic heart and spirit.  Her photography and poetry is mystical and engaging.
We came together to collaborate on a cause and a poem.

Please take a moment to get to know Michele.

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Radiant Child

raw essence

Harmony meters measure
The moods rising
Off the tarmacadam.

Adults, in the swing of
Bills, forget to smile.

Less entertained by obligations

In the local park, a
Teen plays a keyboard
Harvests raw blurred notes, hint

Of a cool soundtrack.

High harmony
Readings encompass
The radiant child.

Echoes of lyrics dignify
The sensual pitch of her
Voice. She sings:

“Harmony travels
at the speed of joy.

A luminous poet is as light
as an ounce of osmosis.

Time after time

Parents, in the swing of
bills, forget to smile.

Moods rising… radiant child.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Background | Neighborhood Art

Neighborhood Art

In New York I photographed a man engulfed by spray paint.

Honesty Box

Hold 1

How
can
I
accomplish my dreams?

The
hands
on my
clock
are
at loggerheads.

If when walking on the Avenue Of The Future,
I should happen to encounter
a fortune teller

who tells me: “You will mend your luck
when you turn back the clock.”

Will I deposit my gratitude
in the honesty box?

Or will I forge on ahead
weighed down by
regret?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape | Broken Shell


Flights,camera,action

In my left hand I am holding a broken shell.

In the foreground the figure of a man is a blur.

What is his purpose? Why is he unclear?

Is he looking for escape routes above the moving sea?

Am I beside him?

Lady Serenity

blueonedgeofvgray.jpgdoors
When Lady Serenity
saw me, she swerved.

Her detour a reminder not to dwell on anxiety.

I want to absorb the tempo of my female hero.

Go with her on a journey. We’ll decide.

Fill a syrup-colored packing case with maps loosely packed.

Plan our getaway on the backs of envelopes.  Take me with you.

“Live and love as if there’s no tomorrow.” I wish she’d said to me.

“Die to tomorrow.”

Add as a P.S.

 

Moon People on Mother’s Day

In honor of Mother’s Day in America — and for new friends and followers of my blog I want to take this opportunity to re-publish a piece of writing I did when I was 12 years old! 

I give thanks to my mother and father for giving me a room with a view in which to write to my heart’s content.

web-Moon

Moon People – Friday 25 February 1977

When moon people grow old, they do not die. They just vanish into thin air, like smoke – and talking of smoke, I must tell you about their diet, which is precisely the same for everyone. When they feel hungry, they light a fire and roast some frogs on it – for there are lots of these creatures flying around in the air. Then while the frogs are roasting, they draw up chairs around the fire, as if it were a sort of dining-room table, and gobble up the smoke.

That is all they ever eat. And to quench their thirst they just squeeze some air into a glass and drink that: the liquid produced is rather like dew.

Bald men are considered very handsome on the moon, and long hair is thought absolutely revolting. But on young stars like the comets, which have not yet lost their hair, it is just the other way round. Or so I was told by a comet-dweller who was having a holiday on the moon when I was there.

I forgot to mention that they wear their beards a little above the knee; and they have not any toenails, for the very good reason that they have not any toes. What they have got, however, is a large cabbage growing just above the buttocks like a tail. It is always in flower, and never gets broken, even if they fall on their backs.

When they blow their noses, what comes out is extremely sour honey, and when they have been working hard or taking strenuous exercise, they swear milk at every pore. Occasionally, they turn it into cheese, by adding a few drops of the honey. They also make olive oil out of onions, and the resulting fluid is extremely rich and has a very delicate perfume.

They have any number of vines, which produce not wine but water, for the grapes are made of ice; and there, in my view, you have the scientific explanation of hail storms, which occur whenever the wind is strong enough to blow the fruit off the vines.

They use their stomachs as handbags for carrying things around in, for they can open and shut them at will. If you look inside one, there is nothing to be seen in the way of digestive organs, but the whole interior is lined with fur so that it can also be used as a centrally-heated pram for babies in cold weather.

The upper class people wear clothes made of flexible glass, but the material is rather expensive, so most people have to be content with copper textiles. For there is any amount of copper in the soil, which becomes as soft as wool when soaked in water.

I hardly like to tell you about their eyes, for fear you should think I’m exaggerating, because it really does sound incredible. Still, I might as well risk it, so goes: their eyes are detachable!!

As for ears, they have to be satisfied with a couple of plane-tree leaves.

I must just mention one other thing I saw in the King’s Palace on the moon. It was a large mirror suspended over a fairly shallow tank. If you got into the tank you could hear everything that was being said on Earth, and if you looked in the mirror, you could see what was going on anywhere in the world, as clearly as if you were actually there yourself.

I had a look at all the people I knew at home, but whether they me saw me or not I cannot really say.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern | Neglect

Pattern of neglect

The subject of this week’s photo challenge is patterns.  In a new post specifically created for this challenge, share a picture which means PATTERN to you! 

The exterior of a house in Sierra Leone, West Africa. My heart is drawn to the pattern of neglect, the pattern of deterioration.

Head In The Clouds

When I was growing up my mother would say to me: “Child of mine you have your head in the clouds.”

When I grew older I discovered that folks who write poetry are in the minority.

Flamenco for Fragrance91h

I’m half afraid to write poetry
for you who never read it much

and I’m left laboring
with the secrets and the silence

In plain language.

– Adrienne Rich

Photo Challenge: Above | Feather

In a new post specifically created for this challenge, share a picture which means FROM ABOVE to you!

Photo_challengefeather2
This feather fell from above and rested a while in my garden.

Poetry Challenge #24: Two Bodies

Two bodies speak to each other in smoke rings.

Signals blown back and forth. The mysterious air

between the pair: cloaking their mystery.

What are they saying? Is language extinct?

Are words with all their meanings pinned

down. Frozen. Stiff.

No map no GPS
napo2013button2

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

Child of a polio victim

An African boy looks up at the camera.

His father is disabled and he’s playing with his father’s crutches.

The family live on a $1 a day and these crutches are the only ‘toys’ the boy has to play with.

For this week’s WordPress photo challenge on the theme of ‘Up’,  I’m wondering what is uppermost in this boy’s mind at the moment I took the photograph.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

1 Amputee Sierra Leone

The Peace Project, an international social movement that I work with in Sierra Leone, changed this man’s life by giving him a pair of crutches.

I took this photograph in May 2012 during one of The Peace Project’s crutch distribution efforts in Sierra Leone, West Africa.

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Opened Ground

My soul is the waiter serving me at the Sky bar.

dar_1374

Factored into this exchange is duality.

Longing and loss crawl against my skin like jealous thieves picking my combination lock.

My shadow challenges my soul to a drinking contest.

Now the bar is minus a waiter.

Future Love Paradise

greenandpleasantland

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. 

greenland

Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. 

greenland2

But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.

– William Blake

Fathers From Around the World

Michele D'Acosta:

My heartfelt thanks to Holistic Wayfarer (on A Holistic Journey)and the amazing writers with whom I share this space to pay tribute to our fathers.

Happy Father’s Day to dads … past, present and future.

Originally posted on A Holistic Journey:

When I was not yet three years old, John Richard and Grace Elizabeth Ingram adopted me from an orphanage in southwest London. When I was four, a stroke left Dad paralysed down his left side; he died when I was 18.

I can still hear the cranky squeaks of your wheelchair. And the clicking of the calipers attached to your legs below the knee. There was the incessant wheezing from the asthma that later attended the paralysis. Your body was your burden. Your light relief was watching the BBC news and “being tickled pink,” as you liked to say, by the old classic British comedies. Dad’s Army. The Good Life. Rising Damp. As a child I longed to pick you up and carry you on my back. Far and away from your wheelchair and back to the fleeting memory I had of you as my able-bodied dad…

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