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"Walk the Block," and a FEW EXHIBITIONS To See THIS FALL

Updated: Nov 21, 2021

We had a delightful afternoon with “Walk the Block,” a fundraiser for WaNaWari, the cultural center that is a major stimulus for revitalizing the African American presence in the Central District. We enjoyed art, music, dance, food and drink. We were thrilled to see so many friends, so it was a special social event as well as a fundraiser for the cultural center. You can still donate if you go to their website Their anthology “joy has a sound” from Black Sonic Visions, is available for pre-purchase from “The 3rd Thing” publisher or go to the launch party on November 16. Such a great idea to have an outdoor walk to keep everyone comfortable.

Martine Syms “Notes on Gesture,” video
Martine Syms “Notes on Gesture,” video, detail, “compares authentic and dramatic gestures.”

We saw artwork by Marita Dingus, Inye Wokoma, Barbara Earl Thomas and Martine Syms, among others. There was art in traffic circles, cafes, a pea patch and a “nanoforest.” We stopped for hot cocoa at Central Café on Cherry, one of my favorite places in the Central District because it has outdoor seating, then watched extraordinary dance by the “Bring Us Collective” on the theme of “Bring Us Community, Bring Us Together, and Bring us Joy.” We ate samosas from Mama Sambusa Kitchen at the Emerald City Community Church, and a sandwich by Chef Tarik Abdullah at Coyote Central. There was jazz trumpeter, Owuor Arunga and the Gary Hammond Band playing original compositions from the front porch of a black-owned house.

Barbara Earl Thomas “Cure” laser cut steel
Barbara Earl Thomas “Cure” laser cut steel in front of WaNaWari and hand cut Tyvek piece in window.

Barbara Thomas’s work “Cure” in front of WaNaWari is part of her ongoing series of cut out portraits. She began with the “Geography of Innocence” on until January 2 at the Seattle Art Museum. The Henry Art Gallery just opened “Packaged Black,” in collaboration with the artist Derrick Adams. Thomas reconfigured the white fairy tale of Cinderella with black courtiers in her signature cut outs, as well as creating a very tall Cinderella dressed in pink cut out Tyvek. Also part of the court are Derrick Adams detailed homages to Black women’s hair styles and to the pioneering couture designer Patrick Adams.

On view in the basement at the Henry is Diana Al-Hadid, a Syrian artist, who majestically invokes the ruins of culture in monumental sculptures that look like they are disintegrating as we look at them.

Finally at the Henry “Viewpoints: Queer Visibility,” two starkly contrasting paintings. “BOYZ OF THE WILD” by Anthony White is a lusciously detailed expression of desire. Facing it is Dean Sameshima’s “Torso (Black on Silver)” a minimalist flow chart that transforms a pornographic image into a connect-the-dots image! (Henry Art Gallery, 15th Ave. NE & 41st. Ave. NE on UW campus)

~Susan Platt, PhD


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