A box of gum floats on a bright turquoise background. The gum label reads "Yellow No. 5" in pink and yellow, fluffy, cursive font with a black outline. The background of the box is pink and green. Svelte legs in sparkly fishnet stockings and pastel yellow stilettos rest upside down on the top of the box. The torso and rest of the person's body disappear behind the box.

Yellow No. 5

Natural Flavor. Artificial Color.

Yellow No. 5 examines the transactional relationship between culture and consumerism and how they often work in tandem to conceal their connection. Tariqa Waters’ project-based, multi-disciplinary exhibition sees her collaborate with regional artists to explore the grab-and-go nature of material goods and how these products serve as armor to shield us from our intrinsically codependent relationship with consumerism—using artificial additives.

Artist/curator, Tariqa Waters’ whimsical, larger-than-life, pop-inspired work was first shown at BAM in the Bellwether 2018 exhibition. Her eight-foot-tall replica of a pink roll of Quilted Northern toilet paper featuring a self-portrait of an exhausted mother in hair rollers and a rain bonnet references a conglomerate of early childhood memories where urgency and vanity work in tandem to mask generational pain: the pink elephant in the room to match the towels.

For Yellow No. 5, Bellevue Arts Museum has commissioned new work from Waters and 10 additional artists. Each will come together with their own specific practices threading a common narrative about contemporary American culture through humor and caustic social commentary.

In describing her vision for the exhibition, Waters says, “How we reconcile our personal choices with our outside view of the world is worth exploring. America’s greatest privilege is the opportunity that we have to access one another’s cultures in appreciation rather than appropriation. As a result, we unknowingly blend experiences that shape the core of who we are with objects and spaces constructed without us in mind. Have we supported and represented one another merely through co-existing? How can we best lampoon cultural codependency while maintaining the ability to laugh at ourselves?”

 

A collage of imagery related to the fight for womens right to vote. In the foreground, a woman with brown eyes and brown hair looks out at the viewer. Behind her, black and white images of Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, and other Black women activists layer over newspaper clippings with articles about voting rights.

What Story Would the Unintended Beneficiaries Tell (WSWUBT)

To be a woman or femme-identified/identifiable person and engage in politics can feel, at times, like a rebellious act. Since the founding of the United States of America, they have not been included, until recently, as part of “We the people”. To engage with politics as a member of any historically marginalized group is a different experience. One which has not enjoyed any exploration and examination at the same level as the “politics as usual groups”.

WSWUBT is a group exhibition that encourages artists to provide their perspective, to peel back the layers of white-washed history and examine the 19th Amendment, a non inclusive historical moment, through new perspectives that can not be ignored or erased.

On Aug. 18th, 1920 the 19th Amendment was ratified. It stated, “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex”. This in effect gave every female citizen the right to vote under the Constitution, although in reality it only gave a privileged few white females that right. The right to vote and to have one’s voice heard and counted has always been held in an almost sacred regard since the founding of our government. Our country’s belief that the governed should have a say in how they are governed is one that has not proven to be inclusive of all citizens or people.

In actual practice we as a country have denied equal opportunities to vote to persons historically categorized as marginalized groups, especially women of color. Even with the passage of the 19th Amendment women of color were not allowed to vote until decades after this amendment was ratified. Indigenous Americans were not granted citizenship and the right to vote until 1947. Asian American women did not win the vote until the passage of the McCarran-Walter Act in 1952. African – and Latinx-Americans did not gain the explicit right to vote until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Currently all members of the African-American and Indigenous communities are fighting for fair and equal access to ballot boxes.

What Stories Would the Unintended Beneficiaries Tell, takes a new look at equity, equality, our collective history, and the erasure of marginalized history. CoCA seeks to ascribe new perspectives and visual meanings to restructuring of the Amendment through visual space supporting open transparency in thought and opportunities for creative actions.

Featured artists: Monyee Chau, Bonnie Hopper, Ashante Kindlé, Lisette Morales, Charly ‘Carlos’ Palmer, and Carletta Carrington Wilson