An Elegant Utility

I was fortunate to work with the Northwest African American Museum to design a poster and mailer for its most recent exhibit An Elegant Utility. I then worked directly with the curator and artist to design the layout and install vinyl text, an interactive map of the Central District of Seattle, and family constellation. This exhibit is based heavily on stories of the Central District, and of the artist’s family, thus requiring a lot of text and some very intricate vinyl work. Below is a description of the exhibit found on the mailer:

An Elegant Utility explores the creation of place, identity, and the Northwest African-American community that has historically characterized Seattle’s Central District neighborhood. Local visual artist and filmmaker Inye Wokoma interrogates the ways in which structural violence produced the precarious conditions his family was forced to navigate after settling in the Central District during the Great Migration. Wokoma examines archived family photographs, artifacts, and oral histories to illuminate how building community and claiming space allowed them to materialize their aspirations.  Layered narratives also examine how shifting systemic oppression has facilitated the erasure of Black presence which once defined the Central District.

An Elegant Utility urges us to recognize the relationship between redlining, racial restrictive covenants, inaccessible resources and the current displacement of Black people.  How do we preserve and continue to build identity, community, and place as rapid processes of gentrification change the Central District?”

Date: March 2018
Client: Northwest African American Museum
Role: Designer