15 Aug An Interview with Artist Inye Wokoma
To Inye Wokoma, the Liberty Bank Building represents a chance for community ownership of land and home, an opportunity to shape destiny. One of Seattle Magazine’s ‘Most Influential Seattleites of 2017‘, Mr. Wokoma is an esteemed presence in the City’s art scene. In his words, his work explores “Black people building community in the Central District”.
Mr. Wokoma knows the Central District well. Beginning in the 1940s, his grandparents were residents and staunch supporters of community institutions. They were a deacon and deaconess at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Growing up at 24th and Marion, he remembers going to Liberty Bank with his grandfather as a child – just a part of everyday life. His grandmother still lives on South Judkins Street.
At LBB, his work will be on permanent display. Beyond the entryway, in the main hallway, the original Liberty Bank vault door will hang suspended between two I-beams such that admirers will be able to walk around it. On either side, north and south, will hang four original pieces from Mr. Wokoma – a photo-based collage using various media. The related panels will progressively explore the history, vision, and intent of Liberty Bank as an institution, the history of the neighborhood, and what Black banking represents to Black communities.
The panels will juxtapose individual and collective aspirations for the neighborhood, the nation, and humanity in the context of civil rights with the political reality of an institution meant to restore human dignity to people in a space where they were denied it.
Other artwork by Mr. Wokoma is part of Charcoal, a group exhibition of contemporary Black and African diaspora artists at 101 South Jackson Street.