Seattle Office of Arts & Culture presents Casket Pall Residency by Mark Mitchell,
part of the Dialogues in Art: Exhibitions on Racial Injustice series
May 16 – July 15, 2016 at Seattle Presents Gallery in the Seattle Municipal Tower;
Reception Thursday, June 2 from 4 – 6 p.m.;
lunchtime lecture June 23 at noon.
SEATTLE (May 12, 2016) —This spring the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) will feature Casket Pall Residency with artist Mark Mitchell in the Seattle Presents Gallery. Mitchell’s residency will feature work on a hand sewn casket pall that subverts the flag placed on the caskets of American heroes, and honors the lives lost because of our shared history of slavery and racism. Mitchell will be working in the gallery on Thursdays and Fridays beginning May 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through July 15, 2016.
Casket Pall Residency is part of the Seattle Presents Gallery series Dialogues in Art: Exhibitions on Racial Injustice, a yearlong exploration of artists’ and curators’ interpretations of racial injustice and systemic racism impacting Black and African-American people throughout America.
Mitchell’s work incorporates dressmaking and millinery techniques to create unique, hand crafted, complex objects. Casket Pall Residency will result in a work that will be part of a larger project, made up of a number of Mitchell’s works. For the work in the gallery the flag will be bordered with text bearing the lyric to the song Mary, Don’t You Weep, a slave song that tucks the Old Testament story of the slaves fleeing Egypt into a story about Jesus. The work will be made using shadow appliqué and reverse shadow appliqué, a combination of two ancient needlework techniques. The gallery will also include sketches of Mitchell’s preliminary work related to Casket Pall Residency.
On Thursday, June 2, ARTS will host an artist reception for Mark Mitchell in Seattle Presents Gallery from 4 – 6 p.m. with refreshments, and sounds by DJ Larry Mizell, Jr. There will also be a lunchtime lecture on June 23, at noon with activist Scott Winn and artist Mark Mitchell. Winn and Mitchell will discuss race, identity and intersectionality in the gallery. Winn is a Policy and Development Lead for the City of Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative, a member of the Organizing Collective of the Coalition of Anti-racist Whites, and also a faculty member of the University of Washington, School of Social Work where he teaches courses centered on social workers as agents for social and economic change.
Mitchell was recently artist-in-residence at The New Foundation Seattle where he continued to develop his new group of sculptures concerning racism and mass incarceration called Burial 2. He was a finalist for the 2015 Neddy Award at Cornish in the open medium category. In addition to his fine art practice, Mitchell has worked extensively as a costume designer, maker of custom clothing, tattoo artist, and teacher.
The Office of Arts & Culture, in partnership with the Office for Civil Rights, is committed to addressing, and increasing community-wide awareness about, existing inequities so that we, along with our cultural and community partners, can most effectively work together toward a vision of racial equity. Seattle Presents Gallery features a variety of immersive installations, curated exhibitions pulled from the city’s Portable Works Collection, resident artists, and original artworks. The gallery presents both emerging and established artists and curators, and provides all who pass by the opportunity to engage in diverse arts and cultural experiences.
Participating artists in the Dialogues in Art: Exhibitions on Racial Injustice series
Xenobia Bailey studied ethnomusicology at the University of Washington, and received her BA in industrial design from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. Her pieces are often connected to her ongoing project “Paradise Under Reconstruction in the Aesthetic of Funk”. Her designs draw influences from Africa, China, and Native American and Eastern philosophies, with undertones of the 1970’s funk aesthetic. Bailey has been artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, and the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation in New York City. Bailey co-organized a Black Cultural Workshop with the African-American inmates at McNeil Island Federal Penitentiary and Monroe State Reformatory in the 1970’s. Her work has been exhibited at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Jersey City Museum, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and NAAM. Her work is in the permanent collections at Harlem’s Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Allentown Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Arts, and the Museum of Arts and Design.
Jasmine Iona Brown was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and traveled to five continents before settling in West Seattle. She earned her B.F.A. at Howard University and her M.A. from UCLA. Her graduate study in ancient history and cultures led her to incorporate antique artistic mediums, such as egg tempera, into her artwork. She is fascinated with the human face and the tragic narratives of marginalized people. Brown is the recipient of a 2011 Puffin Foundation Grant to paint a series of Byzantine style egg-tempera icons memorializing a few of the many children of color that are lost to violence.
Barry Johnson is a Washington-based visual artist and filmmaker from Kansas who’s had a range of works in visual art and film shown across the U.S. and the world. Waking up at 2 am every morning to paint in his studio, Johnson works tirelessly to create pieces that challenge views on gender, race, sex, and sound. His work is a result of events taking place around the world and in everyday life.
Mark Mitchell is an artist who speaks to social issues through textiles. His contributions to Seattle’s cultural community bridge a number of disciplines, including art, music, theater, fashion, activism, and education. He is the subject of the award-winning documentary film Burial, and presented a performance and exhibition of the same title at the Frye Art Museum in 2013.
Shaun Scott is a Seattle-based independent filmmaker whose first feature film was “Seat of Empire” (2009), a 3-hour long documentary tour of the city of Seattle using archival footage. In 2010 he directed and wrote “Waste of Time”, a historical mash-up of original footage, archival images, and contemporary music meant as a portrait of consumer capitalism.
Elizabeth Spavento is interested in identity politics (particularly as they relate to race and gender), the untapped potential of space, altered states of consciousness and unstructured time. Her practice seeks the fringe as a way to push back against hegemony, and her work tends to favor alternative spaces and community-driven practices. She has curated exhibitions for Disjecta Contemporary Art Center in Portland, OR and Open Source Gallery in New York, NY in addition to exhibiting her own work in Buffalo, NY. Spavento’s most recent project, ALL RISE, was a two year series of temporary public artworks punctuated by performance, video and music on a 90,000 sq. ft. gravel lot in downtown Seattle. She is the 2016 visiting curator for Interstitial, Seattle’s premiere exhibition space for artists working in new media. Elizabeth Spavento currently lives nowhere in particular and works everywhere she is.