Black History Month

In my studio: Black history, black futures

Dear America:

I’m gonna need you to up your history game to include the stories of all our people, and not just in history books. (But really: you need to do better with schoolchildren’s history books. Those things are awful.) You don’t even have to look far for material. For example: Did you even know you owned this photo, America?

Children at a White House Easter egg roll, 1923. Credit: Library of Congress

Children at a White House Easter egg roll, 1923. Credit: Library of Congress

It’s in the Library of Congress, that big ol’ hoard of your favorite images and documents. I laughed out loud when I first discovered the image — I mean, that’s some EPIC (probably unintentional) side-eye!

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And then I sighed. This photo and its original title — “A study in black and white snaped [sic] at the White House today” — say everything and nothing at all about America in 1923. Like a lot of American history and culture. A wink-wink-nudge-nudge title that implies racial tension, and almost no explanation for why that might be so.

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During Black History/Black Futures Month, I’m going to assign my own interpretation of what’s going on in this photo. I think the gaps in our stories are directly responsible for the way we treat each other. Realistically, I know those gaping holes will continue to exist for… God only knows how long. But if anyone else is trying to fill the holes and make things right, well, the collages I plan to make are for you.

"... Mother" returns next week

It’s like Homecoming Week up in here: “Like Mother” opens its doors in North Seattle next Wednesday, this time at the North Seattle College art gallery.

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Notice there are two opportunities for you to see our work that day! If your schedule allows, you can join us that afternoon. If not, then join us in the early evening and wait out rush hour looking at art instead of sitting in traffic. I promise, it’s far more pleasant to breathe in the sweet smell of beeswax from Deborah Kapoor’s encaustic art installation.

Deborah Kapoor, “My Body, My Home”

Deborah Kapoor, “My Body, My Home”

Maybe you have to head home right away, though; I understand. Rest up on Friday, then join me Saturday evening in Shoreline for the opening of “Living the Dream.”

Lisa Myers Bulmash, “Relatively Progressive” (detail)

Lisa Myers Bulmash, “Relatively Progressive” (detail)

Photo of Edwin T. Pratt. Credit: Black Heritage Society of WA state

Photo of Edwin T. Pratt. Credit: Black Heritage Society of WA state

Hope to see you soon — maybe at both events!

"Living the Dream" in Shoreline, Washington

As slippery as it is, the American Dream of owning a home — and by extension, the feeling of belonging here — has shaped much of my identity. So when I found out about the city of Shoreline’s upcoming art exhibit, it almost felt necessary to submit some of my work.

“Relatively Progressive,” 2019. ©Lisa Myers Bulmash.

“Relatively Progressive,” 2019. ©Lisa Myers Bulmash.

I’ve contributed this collage and two other pieces to the “Living the Dream, Dreaming the Life” exhibit. These, and works by 15 other artists, are inspired by civil rights martyr Edwin T. Pratt, who led the Seattle Urban League. He and his family also integrated an all-white neighborhood in what’s now Shoreline. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Pratt’s assassination at his front door.

Credit: Edwin T. Pratt Archive, Black Heritage Society of Washington State; David Francis

Credit: Edwin T. Pratt Archive, Black Heritage Society of Washington State; David Francis

Pratt’s family photos are now held by the Black Heritage Society of Washington state. Their partnership with 4Culture allowed us artists to experiment with these images, just like I usually do with my own family archive. So I’m really looking forward to seeing what my friends Vincent Keele, Christina Reed, Naoko Morisawa and the other artists have done. The opening reception is Saturday, January 26th at Shoreline City Hall… hope to see you there!