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Public Art Feature | Abraham Awalom

Abraham Awalom with his work for Sound Transit

We spoke with artist Abraham Awalom about his experience being on the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture’s Public Art Artist Roster! An Eritrean-born artist, Abraham came to the U.S. in 2014 as an asylee; an experience that informs much of his work. He maintains a connection through his work with his indigenous roots, while remaining relevant to his present self. As an artist, Abraham is interested in humanity and human connections, with one another and with one’s surroundings.

Man stands outside next to horizontal painting of three portraits hung on chain link fence
Abraham Awalom with his work, photo by Jason Huff

“As an up-and-coming immigrant artist, my goal is to establish connections within the art network to make significant advancements in my field. I am convinced that seizing opportunities in public art projects is fundamental for profound progress in my artistic endeavors, enriching my work experiences and opening doors for future opportunities. My introduction to this golden opportunity occurred at the Refugees Day Art exhibition a couple of years ago. 

Despite some artists overlooking such opportunities, my dedication and hard work eventually paid off. A testament to my accomplishments is the upcoming inauguration of a permanent public art project in 2024, situated at The Sound Transit Link Light Rail Station project in Redmond. Seeing one’s work displayed in an environment with artistic aesthetic value is a dream for many artists, and I am currently working in the development of my third public art project at Cowen Park. 

Through my brief yet impactful experiences with the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, I wholeheartedly encourage emerging artists to delve into the potential benefits of participating in public art initiatives. This pathway has the potential to foster the flourishing of their artistic careers in the near future.”

Abraham Awalom
Mock up image of light rail station with billboard containing paintings lining the sides
Mock up of project by Abraham Awalom

The Public Art Artist Roster is currently open to apply! Artists are invited to apply for our upcoming public art projects. All experience levels are welcome. The Roster will be used for commissioning new, original, and site-responsive public artwork and is the primary method for selecting newly commissioned artists.