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Artwork copyright Samuella Samaniego. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Reimagining the Future Through the Past, curated by artist Tara Tamaribuchi

"Digging up the past, we can better understand the conditions of the present, and guide ourselves to re-imagines new futures. Informed by history and/or ancestors, the artists in this collection inspire us to dream of new possibilities, through the wide lens of time, space and culture.

Engaging with forms of their ancestors is one way artists from marginalized communities find empowerment and envision new trajectories. Susan Point and Marvin Oliver continue the lineage of Coast Salish carved forms into contemporary technologies and place. Point engages these aesthetics at the location of ancestral land, paying tribute to ancestors and all people who make their lives there today and tomorrow. Oliver applies this gesture to include all beings—specifically salmon and their future generations.

Reading the past in new ways, can work to re-imagine the future. In Four Ancestors, Marita Dingus connects the materiality of cast-off building parts to 'how people of African descent were used during the institution of slavery and colonialism, then discarded.' Dingus built ancestral figures of reclaimed materials as inspiration for students to 'repurpose themselves and thrive in a hostile world.' Carrie Mae Weems and Maki Tamura take a similar turn with traditional European-American forms. Weems presents a re-ordering of how race, class and gender is seen, while Tamura’s work signifies a more organic, less positional future of science and mankind.

Rituals are activities, connecting the past, present and future, with aims to transcend conditions in ways that include healing and ascension. Samuella Samaniego documents Tlingit youth performing traditional rituals, embodying the spectrum of time as future adults who are connected to their ancestors. Through printmaking, Robin Holder presents abstractions of liminal spaces where rituals could be conducted, with ancestral and new forms guiding us forward."

–Curated by Tara Tamaribuchi, artist on the ArtsWA Public Artist Roster, in June 2020. Tamaribuchi conducts a research-based art practice across mediums, with interests that include diasporic experience and Buddhist perspectives. She is based in Seattle.