by Marcus Harrison Green
(This article was originally published on Real Change and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
Credit Amoako Boafo for achieving the impossible. He’s managed to make Blackness — and its inherent pain, joy, complexity, struggles, and triumph — inescapable in the City of Seattle. At least that was my first impression after leaving the Ghanaian painter’s solo debut exhibit, “Soul of Black Folks,” currently on display at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM).
Continue reading SAM Exhibit Urges Reflection on Black Identity and the Self
How Black Women Are Preventing the Erasure of Seattle’s Black Community Through the Arts
by NaKeesa Frazier-Jennings
As a Black woman myself, the term “Black excellence” doesn’t really resonate with me, and to use it to describe Tariqa Waters, a multidisciplinary artist and business owner in Seattle, would be an understatement. Owner and founder of local art gallery Martyr Sauce, what she is doing through her art, her presence, and her commitment to our local community has an importance that cannot be truly captured in words, unless with a word that means something more than excellent. She occupies spaces and represents Black women and Black girls, and does so with grace, generosity, kindness, and color through both her amazing personal style and her larger-than-life art installations!
Continue reading ‘Thank You, MS PAM’
Catch Hunter and local artist Moses Sun in conversation at Elliott Bay Books on Wednesday, Jan. 18.
by Troy Landrum Jr.
Literature has unexpectedly built the cobbled path of my life. It has bridged the crevasse between purpose and the spiritual, the space in between that creates the creative path I hope to continue on throughout my days. As a Black man, there is a dichotomy in that. At one point in American history, to be Black and to read or write was an illegal act. These laws were set in place to control Black people, to keep them from understanding the world around them; the laws were ingrained so Black people could be totally reliant on the white faces that enslaved them. For a Black person to wield the power to read and write was more powerful than any weapon that could inflict bodily harm. Fear rested in the hearts of the enslaver: fear of riots, of coups, of power being overthrown. To possess these forbidden abilities meant white supremacy’s days were numbered.
Continue reading Max Hunter Addresses Black Male Writers and Readers in ‘Speech Is My Hammer’
by Yoona Lee
Seattle artist Zahyr Lauren used to be an attorney.
They realized something important in practicing law. Zahyr explains, “We can argue back and forth about case law, but when I give my witness statement as a Black person and human rights investigator, nobody can edit that.” In other words, what Zahyr has experienced in America is their own indisputable truth.
Continue reading Visions of Liberation: Solidarity and Healing in the Art of Zahyr Lauren
by Shurvon Haynes
The year of 2020 was the year that I was going to intentionally be in the presence of Black fine art every day. I was inspired by a speech I had recently heard from creative community builder Theaster Gates, and I was ready to exhibit my visionary artwork for the first year of the new decade. In January, I had an art installation at a local Black fine arts gallery in my neighborhood. On Feb. 29 (leap year) I co-hosted an art workshop with my art partner for Black History Month at a museum. We were so excited to start the new year with so much creative momentum toward our artistic collaborative goals.
Continue reading OPINION: Razzle, Dazzle, Sparkle, and Shine
by Nina Dubinsky
Masked visitors were greeted by warm yellow walls featuring sculptural vignettes, precisely cut paper portraits, video installations, and collages at the inauguration of Packaged Black: Derrick Adams and Barbara Earl Thomas at the Henry Art Gallery last weekend.
The exhibition brings together the brilliance of Brooklyn-based artist Derrick Adams and Seattle artist Barbara Earl Thomas. It is a perfect mesh of works and mediums born from the two artists’ shared dialogue about representation, Black identity, and practices of cultural resistance. Though the concept of a shared exhibition between two artists is not new, there is something special about the visual dialogue between these artists.
“One of the things that is so exciting about this project is its origin out of mutual respect and shared conversation between these two artists,” said Henry Art Gallery curator Nina Bozicnik.
Continue reading ‘Packaged Black’ Sparks Conversations of Representation, Black Identity, and Cultural Resistance
by Jasmine J. Mahmoud
Boundless fascination, pride, and exuberance captured my mood while touring the “Kinsey African American Art & History Collection” at Tacoma Art Museum. In late August, I traveled to Tacoma by bus to visit the touring exhibition which opened on July 31. The exhibition centers art and artifacts (from as early as 1595) collected by Shirley and Bernard Kinsey emerging from African American and Diasporic experience.
Here, specifically, are a few works that mesmerized me:
Continue reading The Kinsey Collection: Art, Archive, and History of the Black American Experience
by LaNesha DeBardelaben
From a global pandemic to a renewed focus on social justice, many have suggested that historians will one day look back on 2020 as a turning point for our nation. Turning points can spark much-needed progressive change, but only if we cultivate it, educate our communities, and hold decision makers accountable.
The past year made it painfully clear that some of the very institutions designed to keep neighborhoods and communities safe and healthy are failing People of Color.
The COVID-19 pandemic underscored health care disparities that put People of Color at greater risk. The COVID-19 death rate among Black people is 1.4 times higher than among white people, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. In King County, data shows that confirmed cases, hospitalized cases, and deaths due to COVID-19 are all higher within communities of color than for white residents. Data also shows racial disparities in the national distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations, with Black and Hispanic people receiving smaller shares of vaccinations compared to their shares of cases and deaths and compared to their shares of the total population in most states. As Seattle physician Dr. Ben Danielson noted at a recent conversation that we hosted at the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM), “This is about more than science; this is about us.”
Continue reading OPINION: The Teachings of Malcolm X Can Guide Our Path to Greater Equity
by Lisa Edge
In Lisa Myers Bulmash’s home, a new item commemorates her contest winner status — a cerulean pageant sash. The phrase “Miss Thang 2021” is written across it, and a rhinestone-encrusted safety pin ensures it stays in place. Bulmash can’t help but laugh when she talks about her husband’s playful gift.
Continue reading Lisa Myers Bulmash: the DNA and Soul of Black Art in Seattle
by Beverly Aarons
“What happens if we regard each other as powerful beings?” That’s Natasha Marin’s essential question in “Black Imagination: Sites of Power,” a virtual exhibition/experience originally slated to open at the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) pre-pandemic. “I’m thinking about individuals as power conduits,” Marin said during our telephone interview. But in mainstream society, Black existence is not contextualized within the framework of power — not in the media, not in the movies, books, or games. “How does that change?” Marin asked. “How can we hear each other?”
Continue reading Black Imagination: Sites of Power, a Conversation With Natasha Marin