A classroom in a village school in Hastings, Sierra Leone, West Africa.
Sierra Leone is struggling to get back on its feet after a devastating civil war that lasted more than a decade.
I took these photographs in May 2014.The civil war ended in 2002.
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?
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.
Where do we go when we die on the inside?
Do we rupture our attachment to family? Our daily bread?
Our ability to mimic breath?
Jean-Michel Basquiat died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27 in 1988.
Illuminated cooking pots suspended from a 19th century building in the 6th arrondissement in Paris.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
$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.
Entries must be submitted online by 2pm Pacific Time, Friday, August 16th, 2013.
Notification of juried results will be announced by September 7th, 2013.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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,
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
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. https://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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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.
The radiant child.
Echoes of lyrics dignify
The sensual pitch of her
Voice. She sings:
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.”
accomplish my dreams?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Virginia is in her kitchen licking a metal spoon heaped with lemon sponge mixture. A dash of her own ingredients. In 45 minutes at gas mark six the deed will be done. She looks at the clock, the hands are pointing to noon. She shudders to re-invent herself through hypnosis (whilst waiting for her lemon sponge to rise). She dreams of her lover, Vita. She dreams of her darling’s adventures – overseas. Her thoughts dart about like a handful of ball bearings flung at random countries on a map of the world.
To counteract the weight in her heart, Virginia leaves the front door to her Monk’s House unlocked – and drifts like an elongated question mark towards the sanctuary of the nearby River Ouse.
The acrid taste of river water replaces the spooned cake mixture on her tongue. Virginia counts to ten as she tries to pull off her wedding ring. At the count of five, she regrets this twist of fate.
Seeking an escape route underwater she ceases to stay afloat. The ragweed that might once have been trapped in a fisherman’s net will become her afterlife jacket.
Will Vita write letters to her, posthumously? Perhaps she will…incognito.
© outi art
When Lady Serenity
saw me, she swerved.
Her detour a reminder not to dwell on anxiety.
I want to absorb the tempo of my 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 back of a paperback. Take me with you.
Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Kickstarter, Adobe, Netflix, Spotify, Dropbox, eBay, AirBnb, Trip Advisor, Lyft, Space X, Automattic, Ancestry.com and Tesla are among some of the world’s most powerful and widely known companies that have filed an amicus brief against the White House’s immigration ban.
IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
STATE OF WASHINGTON, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees,
DONALD J. TRUMP, et al., Defendants-Appellants.
On Appeal from an Order of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington United States District Judge James L. Robart Case No. 2:17-cv-00141-JLR
MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE BRIEF OF TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES AND OTHER BUSINESSES AS AMICI CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF APPELLEES
Amici state as follows:
1. Amici are leading technology companies and leading businesses from other sectors of the U.S. economy. These companies’ operations are affected by the Executive Order issued on January 27, 2017, entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” (the “Order”).
2. The Order represents a significant departure from the principles of fairness and predictability that have governed the immigration system of the United States for more than fifty years—and the Order inflicts significant harm on American business, innovation, and growth as a result. The Order makes it more difficult and expensive for U.S. companies to recruit, hire, and retain some of the world’s best employees. It disrupts ongoing business operations. And it threatens companies’ ability to attract talent, business, and investment to the United States.
America proudly describes itself as “a nation of immigrants.” A quarter of us have at least one parent who was born outside the country. Close to half of us have a grandparent born somewhere else. Nearly all of us trace our lineage to another country.
The “contributions of immigrants,” then-Senator John F. Kennedy explained, “can be seen in every aspect of our national life. We see it in religion, in politics, in business, in the arts, in education, even in athletics and in entertainment. There is “no part of our nation,” he recognized, “that has not been touched by our immigrant background.”
Immigrants make many of the Nation’s greatest discoveries, and create some of the country’s most innovative and iconic companies. Immigrants are among our leading entrepreneurs, politicians, artists, and philanthropists. The experience and energy of people who come to our country to seek a better life for themselves and their children—to pursue the “American Dream”—are woven throughout the social, political, and economic fabric of the Nation.
For decades, stable U.S. immigration policy has embodied the principles that we are a people descended from immigrants, that we welcome new immigrants, and that we provide a home for refugees seeking protection. At the same time, America has long recognized the importance of protecting ourselves against those who would do us harm. But it has done so while maintaining our fundamental commitment to welcoming immigrants—through increased background checks and other controls on people seeking to enter our country.
On January 27, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Order 13769. The Order alters immigration policy in significant respects:
Seven-nation entry bar: for a period of at least 90 days, nationals of seven nations—Syria, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, and Sudan—are barred from entering the United States.
Potential expansion of entry bar: the Order indicates that this entry bar could be lengthened, and may be expanded to include individuals from any country that is determined, based on unspecified criteria, not to provide sufficient information to the United States.
Waivers based on unconstrained discretion: the Order permits the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to exercise discretion in issuing visas to nationals from the seven affected countries “on a case-by-case basis.”
Refugee suspension: for a period of at least 120 days, the United States is suspending the Refugee Admissions Program. If the Refugee Admission Program resumes, the Secretary of Homeland Security is to “prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”
The Order effects a sudden shift in the rules governing entry into the United States, and is inflicting substantial harm on U.S. companies. The Order violates the immigration laws and the Constitution. In 1965, Congress prohibited discrimination on the basis of national origin precisely so that the Nation could not shut its doors to immigrants based on where they come from. Moreover, any discretion under the immigration laws must be exercised reasonably, and subject to meaningful constraints.
American Innovation And Economic Growth Are Intimately Tied To Immigration. The tremendous impact of immigrants on America—and on American business—is not happenstance. People who choose to leave everything that is familiar and journey to an unknown land to make a new life necessarily are endowed with drive, creativity, determination—and just plain guts. The energy they bring to America is a key reason why the American economy has been the greatest engine of prosperity and innovation in history.
Immigrants are leading entrepreneurs. “The American economy stands apart because, more than any other place on earth, talented people from around the globe want to come here to start their businesses.” Some of these businesses are large. Immigrants or their children founded more than 200 of the companies on the Fortune 500 list, including Apple, Kraft, Ford, General Electric, AT&T, Google, McDonald’s, Boeing, and Disney. Collectively, these companies generate annual revenue of $4.2 trillion, and employ millions of Americans.
Many of these businesses are small. “While accounting for 16 percent of the labor force nationally and 18 percent of business owners, immigrants make up 28 percent of Main Street business owners.”
These are “the shops and services that are the backbone of neighborhoods around the country.” Between 2006 and 2010, immigrants opened 28% of all new businesses in the United States.
Immigrant-entrepreneurs come from all parts of the world. In 2014, “19.1 percent of immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa were entrepreneurs.”
Immigrants also fuel the growth of the economy as a whole. “When immigrants enter the labor force, they increase the productive capacity of the economy and raise GDP. Their incomes rise, but so do those of natives.”
Immigrants do not take jobs away from U.S. citizens—they create them. Thus, immigration “expand[s] the American work-force, and encourage[s] more business start-ups”—ensuring that “[b]usinesses ranging from Apple Corporation to apple growers would be able to find the workers they need in America.”
Since 2000, more than one-third of all American Nobel prize winners in Chemistry, Medicine, and Physics have been immigrants.
Sign the Global Open Letter to Donald Trump.
Dear Mr. Trump,
This is not what greatness looks like.
The world rejects your fear, hate-mongering, and bigotry. We reject your support for torture, your calls for murdering civilians, and your general encouragement of violence. We reject your denigration of women, Muslims, Mexicans, and millions of others who don’t look like you, talk like you, or pray to the same god as you.
Facing your fear we choose compassion. Hearing your despair we choose hope. Seeing your ignorance we choose understanding.
As citizens of the world, we stand united against your brand of division.
[Add your name!]
I’ve just joined this important global letter about Donald Trump and divisive politics. This is bigger than one country. Let’s make this our manifesto for the years to come.
Link to Global Letter to Donald Trump…
“We will not be silenced…”
This is not who we are. We don’t need to fear the unknown. Talk to your friends, speak your mind to your families, share this post on social media.
Two bodies mutter to each other in smoke rings.
Signals blow back and forth. The mysterious air
between the pair: cloaks their mystery.
What are they saying? Is language extinct?
Are words with all their meanings obsolete
now. Frozen. Stiff.
This week’s photo challenge is Gone, But Never Forgotten.
Show us something that is lost, but not forgotten.
South African poet Willie Kgositsile posited the necessity of putting aside poetry in the face of looming revolution.
“When the moment hatches in time’s womb there will be no art talk,” he wrote. “The only poem you will hear will be the spearpoint pivoted in the punctured marrow of the villain….Therefore we are the last poets of the world.”
Photos are visual spaces where shapes and lines, objects, and people come together. The palm of her hand flies up to the sky.
Along the way, they also force the concrete and the abstract to converge: objects and landscapes are still themselves, yet already a little more (and a little less) than what I’d initially seen in them.
Where does peace start?
In Mahatma Gandhi’s book “The Story of My Experiments With Truth.” Gandhi said: “When every hope is gone, ‘when helpers fail and comforts flee,’ I find that help arrives somehow, from I know not where. Supplication, worship, prayer are no superstition; they are acts more real than the acts of eating, drinking, sitting or walking. It is no exaggeration to say that they alone are real, all else is unreal.”
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.
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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