Soar To The Sun


Date: October 20, 2020

Although Nina Simone did not experience true freedom in her everyday reality, it appears that she felt free while singing “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free”. For me, the beauty and subtle irony of the song lies in Nina’s profound understanding of what freedom feels like, and in her ability to imagine and express that freedom through her art. Billy Taylor and Dick Dallas’s lyrics, as well as the pain and hope in Nina’s voice, prove that although they ‘wish’ to understand freedom, they experience it’s importance on a deeper level than those who have it and take it for granted. Their music is proof that even when our external selves are limited by society, our souls have the power of remaining free. No matter the circumstances, it’s important to remember the freedom found inside; and to feel free. Art is the ultimate expression of this internal freedom, and it is a freedom that Nina Simone, Billy Taylor and Dick Dallas were acutely aware of, and judging by the lyrics, spent their lives cultivating.

Nina sings:

“Well I wish I could be

Like a bird in the sky

How sweet it would be

If I found I could fly

Oh I’d soar to the sun

And look down at the sea

Then I’d sing ’cause I know, yea …

How it feels

To be free…”

My mural would portray an artist in the act of creation – she is painting freedom, just as Nina Simone expressed freedom through song. She paints a woman soaring through the sky with birds, the ultimate expression of freedom according to the lyrics of the song. The mural will be full of movement and color- the artist’s aura will be green, the color of creativity, the blue sky will symbolize timelessness, and the red of the figure and birds will represent resilience and desire. The mural will reference a multitude of art forms – visual art, dance, music. To truly express oneself through any of these, it is important to nurture the freedom found in one’s soul. Understanding oneself and becoming lost in self-expression through art – that is true freedom, and maybe, it feels like flying.