TS Elliot wrote, “Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think. Whatever you want, be sure that it is what you want. Whatever you feel, be sure it is what you feel.”
To pursue a dream, one must first examine the authenticity of the desire. Only when the dream we are pursuing is a core personal conviction, will we be able to draw on a deep reservoir of courage. To be able to run the necessary marathon of any pursuit, we must be able to strengthen ourselves with the reminder that we are running our own race, and no one else’s.You cannot achieve a dream you do not own.
This truth is why I love painting the “Durham Dreams” series. I have the privilege of interpreting the dreams of individuals who have chartered a course for their lives according to their internal compass of personal convictions. Each month, as I create a new “dream portrait”, honoring the dream of an outstanding leader in the Durham community, my own dream of using my work to inspire becomes clearer.
This month’s installment in this series depicts the powerful effect of cherishing the next generation. Cora Cole McFadden, Mayor Pro Tem of Durham, dreams of a community that values and cherishes her children and provides the best opportunity for their future.
The smiling woman with strong, large arms symbolizes the accepting embrace of a community for a multi ethnic group of children.Her head, tilting back, smiles with love and warmth. Around the woman’s head is an arch which represents the need for protection and shelter. Radiating from this arch are “rays” depicted by doors. These doors are opportunity for the children’s future. The mosaic background speaks of the collective efforts of an entire city that works together to provide a launching pad for the young. Within the mosaic backdrop, the circles have a dual meaning. They reflect the fact that the community that works together in such a way, has dreams for it’s future embedded within her walls. These circles may also be viewed as windows that provide a glimpse of hope in the face of dark challenges. The children, joyfully receiving the love of the community look upwards in anticipation. One child points to small orbs descending, representing a sense of hope. (Orbs are a symbol I use for dreams.) Another child grasps a “dream’ in her hand.
This painting was a delight to paint. Speaking for myself, as a mother of five children, my conviction is fully aligned with Cora’s. Children are our future.