Inner Child: Will Downing on Benny Andrews’ “Trees of Life” As told to Souleo
When I look at this work I see a fully developed tree. Next to it is a space that’s dug out. Seeing that empty space feels like there is room for another seed to be planted to grow and flourish. It reminds me of being young and thinking you know everything. I have three children and you can’t tell them anything. I was just like that as a child.
I remember when I said something and something else happened to make me realize how wrong I was in my childhood. Even as an adult I remember being very selfish and focusing only on money. In 2007 I got really sick with the rare muscular and autoimmune disease, polymyositis and that was the moment when I opened my mind to learning more about life.
This painting serves as a wakeup call. You have to be open to learning more. Even though in stature you may be fully-grown you always need to have your mind open to new seeds of learning and life.
Will Downing is a veteran R&B recording artist and activist. On July 8 he will release his new album, “Black Pearls,” which is composed of covers of songs originally performed by women.