WA NA Wari-Art Combatting Gentrification

Combating gentrification one art show at a time.

This past Saturday, Wa Na Wari with musicians Karim Koumbassa, held a free reception to open the new art exhibits in the Central district, featuring Gherdai Hassell, Nandi Jordan, and Kino Galbraith & Kelsey Van Ert. Unfortunately, the ceramics from Nathalie Djakou Kassi, were held up in customs. Nevertheless, the evening was full of neighborhood friendliness, some dancing, excellent nibbly bits and visually scrumptious art.

As one walked into the room, one immediately saw black and white portrait photos lining the walls of the house-a fifth generation Black-family owned house, not a leggo-land town house, as well as some beautiful textile artworkby Gherdai Hassel, hanging from the ceiling, while hearing beautiful drums, keyboard and stringed instruments coming from the other room.

The photos on the walls looked very nice but in fact were actually portraits from the Slave register of Bermuda presented by Hassel. The artist’s words softened the impact of hearing something so gruesome. In her own words:

“My work investigates memory and nostalgia to create unexpected narratives surrounding identity. In 2019, I uncovered a family tree which traced my lineage back eight generations from Bermuda via St Kitts to Nigeria, Africa”

“Driven by an exploration of my own heritage, in this exhibition, I examine the lasting impacts of slavery: re-imagining the identities of enslaved Bermudians in a series of striking portraits, texts, and installation inspired by the Bermuda Slave Registers and historic photographs in the Bermuda Archives. Bermuda is the Bahamas, it is Barbados, it is Jamaica, it is the U.S. South. It is our diasporic story of triumph.”

Gheradi Hassel, the artist, was born in Bermuda, trained in China and is based in Manchester U.K.. She uses collage to thread and weave histories. Her work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions and biennials in Bermuda, USA, UK, Nigeria, Mali, South Africa and China.

Let me be Magic

A self-taught artist and a sociologist by training, Mandi Jordan, incorporates pages from an instructional book on bird watching as both a symbol for unrestrained leisure and a reminder of guided structure. Let Me Be Magic was inspired by my own experience of bird watching as well as the racial profiling of a birdwatcher in New York City in May 2020.

Wa Na Wari,911-24th Ave, Seattle-98122, Central District. April 27-July 20, 2024.
Gallery Hours.
Tuesday-Thursday: 2pm-6pm
Friday: 5pm-8pm
Saturday and Sunday- 11am-5pm

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