Urban walker

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    Have you ever heard of the term “urban walker”? I tried to research about the term in Google and really could not find a definition or a description of what it actually means.

    Attempting to know more about the topic, I turned to my longtime friend, Richard Somes who told me that he is an urban walker.

    According to Richard “an urban walker is simply what the name suggests – one who takes the simple discipline of walking and combines this with the urban landscape in the world we live in.”

    “I and my wife have been physically active with interdisciplinary forms of activities such as running, working out in a gym; swimming; mountain trekking; and cycling. We indulged in these activities during different periods of our lives.

    “Everything seemed to be doing well for both of us up until 2016 when my wife started feeling knee pains. At first, she tried to shrug it off, blaming fatigue as its possible cause.

    Cold ice compress and rest worked to ease out the pain in the beginning, but when the pain became unbearable she decided to get it checked by an orthopedic doctor.

    “The result of the tests was that she was suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee. This was devastating news. She had to give up running and aerobics.

    “To provide moral support to her, I suggested we find a tamer activity. This was the beginning of our new discipline, walking.

    “Admittedly I found it a bit boring at first. Brisk walking around our hilly subdivision in Quezon City eventually became interesting specially with my photography; and to spice up our activity, we decided to walk outside our subdivision.

    “Neither of us knew back then that this would lead to grander walks of what I term now as, urban walking. Our first destination was to Aranzazu in San Mateo, Rizal. This 8 kilometer walk took us an hour and a half from our house and back. The terrain was fairly flat but the landscape outside the safe boundaries of a subdivision was totally different. There were so many people on the streets which were narrow or no sidewalks; there were open man holes, pollution, and traffic which are not pedestrian friendly. Walking in the real world needed a sixth sense but we found it fun and challenging.

    “As we progressed, we found it necessary to adapt our apparel to our activity. We wore dry-fit pants and shirt, and brought a backpack to carry spare clothes , water, an umbrella and other practical necessities.

    “I started documenting our walking time to different locations such as malls which took us about two hours to walk from our home. We covered 5 kilometers in an hour.

    “About a year ago, my son introduced me to google maps which features a walk time. To my surprise, the time we covered going to different destinations coincided exactly with my assessment of our time of arrival to any of our destinations.

    “So far the farthest distance we have had walked to is to the Mall of Asia which took us 5 hours to achieve.

    “Walking through the roads of Metro Manila has brought us different perspectives about the conditions of our road infrastructure and our environment,

    “I wish these roads were more friendly. Urban walking is so enticing and more people should take up this activity……and who knows, this may actually ease out the horrendous traffic which we claim to make us suffer.”

    Indeed, with walking, one reaches one’s destination being less anxious and stressed. This is of course if walking etiquette is followed.

    Thanks to Richard Somes, I now know what “urban walking” is all about.

    We should all give “urban walking” a try….who knows, by doing so we may also become urban walkers and that may just make this world a better place to live in !!!

    ***
    The Embassy of Italy Manila, Security Bank Corporation and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila proudly present, for the first time in Southeast Asia, a major contemporary Italian art exhibition ARTE POVERA: An Italian Landscape from February 10 to April 30 at the Tall Galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila.

    Arte Povera: Italian Landscape captures one of the most pivotal points in the history of Italian contemporary art in the 60s through the 70s. The Arte Povera movement broke boundaries in traditional art making through new engagement with audiences and an experimental approach in making life and everyday objects integral to art. The exhibit will feature the masterpieces of twelve Italian artists who gave birth to the Arte Povera movement. Participating in this exhibition are contemporary Italian master artists Jannis Kounellis, Marisa Merz, Mario Merz, Giuseppe Penone, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Gilberto Zorio Pier, Paolo Calzolari, Francesco Arena, and Gianni Caravaggio.

    With an enduring influence from their times to present day art practice, Arte Povera responded to the sociopolitical milieu in Italy during that time — industrialization, mechanization, and instability of the economy. As a reaction to the perceived dominating abstract modernism in painting, Arte Povera artists focused on sculptural works and installation by using assemblages of cheap throwaway materials evoking a distinct Italian aesthetic. Arte Povera emphasizes the physicality in our daily lives.

    Arte Povera: An Italian Landscape is curated by Danilo Eccher , a well-known Italian art critic and curator who served as director of several cultural institutions in Italy since 1989, including the Galleria Civica d’Arte Contemporanea di Trento, Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna in Bologna, Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, and the Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Turin. Eccher eventually turned to an independent curatorial practice in 2015, working on solo exhibitions of artists such as Jannis Kounellis, Albert Oehlen, Sean Scully, and Christian Boltansk.

    Let’s not fail to visit this exhibit. It promises to be spectacular.