During the spring, I worked with amazing young people who are a part of the Transit Justice Youth Corps, a group supported by the Rainier Beach Community Empowerment Coalition and Puget Sound Sage. They wanted to highlight the beautiful diversity and successes of their neighborhood and also to address the safety and transit access that they and their neighbors are concerned about. These young leaders are awesome community organizers and social justice advocates who inspire me with their dedication and infectious enthusiasm.
Join me in celebrating their work and moving it forward! On Saturday, Sept. 12th at noon, we will officially unveil the bus mural we developed and created together at Renton Avenue South and South Henderson. Immediately afterwards, we’ll do a fun photo shoot at South Henderson and 50th Avenue South. Picture the Beatles’ Abbey Road, but RB-style.
For those of you who live in South Seattle’s Rainier Beach and Rainier Valley, come represent! We are looking for people of different ages, ethnicities, abilities and fashion sensibilities to walk across South Henderson at 50th Avenue South and be photographed for a future bus mural. We want people
- wearing long dresses and pants that cover the leg; skirts, shorts; various foot wear, like sneakers, sandals, dress shoes, boots
- using a wheelchair, walker, or cane
- riding skateboards, bikes, or strollers.
Come out and strut your stuff! I will be aiming my camera low, focusing primarily on people’s arms and legs, so around 4’6″ and below. Young children and others who are under this height limit are still invited to participate, but please know that your face may end up showing in the photograph. You’re welcome to bring a fun mask if you’d like!
The Rainier Beach Art Walk will be happening at this time, so you’ll have plenty of other beautiful artwork, local businesses and talented entertainment to check out. Hope to see you there!
I started out as a cultural worker primarily by writing about community issues for newspapers and non-profit organizations. More recently, I have turned to visual art. Through art, I feel like I can present the complexities of race, identity and my hopes for social justice in more nuanced ways that, I hope, can spark contemplation and conversation, and engage our collective imaginations to work for a better world where there’s room for all of us. On July 3rd, I joined fellow artist Jasmine Brown and community activist Sharon Maeda to discuss “Under My Skin,” the current exhibition on race in the 21st century now on display at the Wing Luke Asian Museum, on KBCS’ Music and Ideas program. Here’s a link to that discussion (listen to some great grooves first, or click on hour 2 and skip to the 30 minute mark).
The Wing Luke Asian Museum has put together an incredibly thoughtful, provocative collection of work by artists who want us to grapple with all the ways race and racism affect us all. Check it out.
On Wednesday, May 22nd, the International Examiner presented me with its 2013 Community Voice Award for Individual Artist. Since time was short (and I was also responding to/cracking up at the roast given by Soya Jung), I could not fully express my gratitude that night. Below is a more complete version of my intended remarks.
Thank you to the folks at the International Examiner for this honor. This is especially meaningful to me because it was through working as a writer and editor at the Examiner 20 years ago that I learned so much about our community and established relationships that continue to enrich my life to this day.
Someone said that giving is a learned behavior, and I learned that from my parents, Joseph and Cora del Rosario, who are here tonight. Once they were working, they put their younger siblings through college, showing me how important it is to help the next ones coming up.
I’ve also learned about giving from my partner, dear friends and friends of friends. They have literally given me keys to their homes so I could have a safe place to stay, not just when I’m traveling, but here in Seattle, when I needed it most. They have fed me, clothed me, comforted me. Besides meeting these very basic needs, they have also helped me move forward as an artist. They have bought my art and promoted my work to their family and friends. They have chipped in to send me to art workshops. They have given or loaned me photographic equipment and art supplies. They have mentored me and inspired me. They have opened doors to teaching, to exhibiting and to so much more. I can’t thank each of them enough for the ways they bless my life.
Now, these are all very personal exchanges. But there are those anonymous exchanges that have helped me get where I am and do what I do.
If you have ever paid sales tax in the state of Washington or federal taxes, thank YOU because you too have helped me.
When I needed dental work but didn’t have any insurance, you made it possible for me to go to International Community Health Services and Seattle Indian Health Board, so I could eat without pain and keep working.
When I needed primary health care but could only afford catastrophic health insurance, you made it possible for me to get quality care at a community clinic and afford low-cost prescriptions.
When I wanted to continue learning, you made it possible for me to take art classes at Seattle Central Community College.
Whenever I go teach young people art, you make it possible for me to get there by bus, so I can use parking and gas money on other necessities.
You make it possible for me to teach, to provide arts education to young people at community-based arts programs funded by Seattle’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs. You make it possible for my work on race, gender and identity to be shown at the Wing Luke Asian Museum’s current exhibition, Under My Skin. You also make it possible for the collective I co-founded, IDEA Odyssey, to promote artists and visual art that explores culture, diversity and identity through funding from Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods, 4Culture and the Washington State Arts Commission.
So thank you, each and every one of you. When you give not only to your loved ones, but to our collective community, you make it possible for each of us to get what we need in order to pursue our dreams and to keep giving back.
I have spent the last few months digging deep into work — teaching youth at various schools and community-based programs throughout King County, attending classes and workshops to further my own artistic development, and working on my own creative projects. Now, some of the fruits of this labor are beginning to bear fruit.
On Thursday, May 2nd, two of my photographs will be featured in Archetypes – Universal Touchstones: Pattern, Place and Space, at the Tashiro Kaplan building’s Corridor Gallery (306 S. Washington St., Seattle). The exhibition, which runs through June 3rd, features artists who participated in Artist Trust’s 2011 EDGE professional development program. As part of the First Thursday Art Walk, there will be an opening reception May 2, from 5 to 9 p.m. (I’ll be there from 7:30 to 9 p.m., if you’d like to stop by to say hello.)
The following week, Under My Skin opens at the Wing Luke Asian Museum (719 S. King St. Seattle). The exhibition features work by artists who explore race in the 21st century and runs May 10 through Nov. 17, 2013. There’s a free exhibition preview on Thursday, May 9, from 7-8 pm. I am especially happy that my “Passport” series will be part of this powerful exhibition. I’ll write in more detail about that in another post, but I am very grateful to the folks who collaborated with me on a project that I hope can continue and expand.
Last, two more of my photographs have been installed at bus shelters in Seattle and another one was accepted for future installation. “Ciao!” is at North 85th Street, and “Midwife’s Hands” is on Green Lake Drive North. Thanks to Dale Cummings at King County Metro and Photography Center Northwest for brightening up our city streets with this great public art program.
The sun is out here in Seattle, but I’m wearing gloves, hat and layers upon layers. But the strong shadows this rare winter sun is casting reminds me of when I was wearing sandals and a skirt, searching for shade on the parched streets of Mahajunga, Madagascar last summer.
“Baobab,” is now part of the faculty exhibition at Photography Center Northwest, which runs through January 28th. Stop by for the free public reception on Thursday, Jan. 10th, 6-8 pm, and check out the very diverse work by my colleagues. PCNW is at 900 12th Ave., Seattle.
Stay tuned for more new work.
I took this photograph in 2009, in San Francisco. I wish it was not still relevant, but the violence in Gaza has reignited, with Israel’s aerial bombardment and Palestinian fighters’ rockets. I think about all those who wail in anguish for their loved ones who have been killed, injured, who are missing. I join those wailing for the violence to end and for the hard work for peace and the protection of human rights to continue.
Last weekend’s Seattle Design Festival prompted people to consider how design affects our environment. What goes up? What comes down? Who is affected by these changes and how?
Every time I come back from some place with interesting architecture and vibrant street art, I am prompted to take a look around Seattle’s urban landscape. I am thankful for people’s efforts to save historic buildings, like Washington Hall, and promote social justice-oriented development that supports livable, diverse communities as opposed to gentrification, like Puget Sound Sage. (The fabulous Davida Ingram takes an interesting approach to this with “Detour: Cascade to South Lake Union,” a walk and cell phone tour (call 206-686-8566) with the voices of past and current residents who share history and insights into one of this city’s fastest changing/gentrifying neighborhoods.)
A lot of what I shoot while I wander different parts of the country and the globe is the vivid street life. I hunger for the bold colors that warm-weather places don. Now, I’m bringing a little bit of that to Seattle’s streets, with the help of the King County Metro Bus Shelter Program and Photography Center Northwest. “Gehitu” (above) is at Northeast 65th and Northeast Ravenna Boulevard and “Maneki Sunset” is at East John and 12th Avenue East (below). Two more of my photos will be installed at other bus shelters in the city (in the South End, I hope).
“Gehitu,” in its original version is also on view at the Artist Trust exhibition, A Celebration of Washington Artists, at the Washington Convention and Trade Center’s 2nd floor North Gallery through October 18th.
The next time you’re waiting for your bus, or rambling through the city, take a look around. See what’s up. Think about how it got there. And please don’t tag the art that someone is offering as a gift for you.
It was indeed a busy summer with lots of great workshops with talented young people. Congratulations to those who completed Youth Media Institute’s Youth Out Loud Photography program. In a mere three weeks, they learned photography, storytelling, editing on Lightroom and Premiere to put together thought-provoking digital stories on homelessness, workers’ rights, gay marriage, bullying and media representations of people of color and low-income communities. These high school youth give me hope for our collective future! (Photo above is by student Merissa M.)
Congratulations also go to the youth who participated in Asian Counseling and Referral Service’s Introduction to Digital Photography workshop. I invite you to view their work at ACRS’s rotating gallery on the first floor at 3639 Martin Luther King Jr. Way South in Seattle.
I’ll be teaching again this fall, this time across Puget Sound. Middle school youth can sign up for a two-day digital photography workshop at Winslow Arts Center, on Bainebridge Island, September 22nd and 23rd. Check out the Winslow Arts Center website for registration.
Also in September, my own work will be part of Artist Trust’s exhibition at the Washington State Convention Center through Oct. 18, with an opening reception Friday, Sept. 7, 5:30 – 8:30 pm. This exhibition features work by over 200 artists in various disciplines who have participated in Artist Trust’s EDGE Professional Development Program since 2003. This is a wonderful celebration of all the diverse talent here in Washington State. Thanks to Artist Trust and the broader arts community who have helped each of us hone our craft and put it out to there.
The Kent Summer Art Exhibit has offered me great opportunities, including having my work be part of a city’s permanent collection and, now, talking about my work on the city’s TV station, Kent TV21. Scroll down the website and check out the video clip to get a virtual glimpse at the exhibition. Thanks again to the jurors, Kent Arts Commissioners and Kent Visual Arts Coordinator Cherly de los Remedios.
The exhibition is up until August 31st at the Centennial Gallery, 400 W. Gowe St., Mondays through Fridays, 8 am to 5 pm. It’s free and open to the public.