2020 07 22 Sharita Towne 018 web

Sharita Towne

the palimpsests that carry us over, selected works from 2018-2022

Mixed media installation


Presented by Wa Na Wari

“I’m interested in using art as a container for Black collective inquiry. Art as Black geographic praxis. I’ve used academic research, family archiving and conversation, and art to create a bird’s eye view that expands over Black life and geography. Black citational practice, written and lived between the body, place, and page are spatialized through craft and collaboration in homage and reverie. The alluvial nature of Black collective thought and our physical relationship to land, water, and sky are brought into form here as atlas, blueprint and evocation. Black imaginaries are seen through a telescope that collapses past and present in experimental research. Magnifying undersung activist histories and Black families (including my own) in their everyday, as they move along roadways and waterways, by force or by choice, under bright skies, in joyful hardship.”

Sharita Towne is a multidisciplinary artist and educator based in Portland. Born and raised on the West Coast of the U.S. along Interstate 5 from Salem, OR, to Tacoma, WA, and down to Sacramento, CA. She is most interested in engaging local and global Black geographies, histories, and possibilities. In her work, a shared art penetrates and binds people–artists, audience, organizers, civic structures, sisters, cousins, and landscape–in collective catharsis, grief, and joy. Towne holds a BA from UC Berkeley and an MFA from Portland State University. Her work has received support from organizations including Creative Capital, the Fulbright Association, Art Matters, The Ford Family Foundation, Oregon Community Foundation, Oregon Humanities, Oregon Arts Commission, The Miller Foundation, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, the MRG Lilla Jewel Award, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Open Signal, SPACES in Cleveland, and the Independent Publishing Resource Center in Portland. Most recently, Towne was awarded the Fields Artist Fellowship by Oregon Humanities and the Oregon Community Foundation.