Before I die…
I want to rob a bank.
I want to fall in love.
I want to swim with sharks.
These are only some of the countless anonymous wishes scrawled onto chalkboard walls, found all across the globe.
Candy Chang, an artist residing in New Orleans, originally began the idea after she lost someone she loved. Struggling through the difficult time, she approached a nearby abandoned house in her neighbourhood and painted a side entirely black with chalkboard paint. Stencilled in was the statement “Before I die I want to_______.” Anyone could walk by, pick up a piece of chalk, and share their life aspirations, whether fantasy or realistic. Within the next 24 hours, the wall was entirely filled, and simply kept growing. Although the wall was taken down in September, the idea became a global public art project- the Before I Die project. The project is still expanding and so far, has been created in over 10 languages, and over 20 countries, such as Mexico, Poland, Italy, United Arab Emirates, and Kazakhstan. All around the world, people are invited to reflect upon their lives, and read about others’ dreams, ranging from ridiculous to touching and thought- provoking. Hours could be spent reading the wonderful mosaic of wishes. Before I die, I want to: make out under the waterfall, start a movement, drop kick Lance Armstrong, straddle the International Date Line, hold her one more time, abandon all insecurities… Every wall is unique, and a tribute to that community. This amazing project allows people to truly think of the meaning of life, and the greatest values within this gift. It provides a way to share our hopes, fears, and dreams to the public, while remaining hidden.
Within hectic schedules full of work and never ending to-do lists, it’s easy to fall into the depression of day-to-day pains, without having the opportunity to stop, and truly reflect upon our life as a whole. So take this opportunity, and fill in your thought at a Before I Die chalkboard. A Before I die chalkboard has recently been set up at the intersection of Queen and Dufferin in downtown Toronto, and is calling to be filled.
For more information or to share your dreams virtually, visit the official website: www.beforeidie.cc, run by the Civic Center, of which Chang is a co-founder.