Most Influential Seattleites of 2017: Inye Wokoma

Seattle Magazine presents the Most Influential Seattleites of 2017.
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The work of artist Inye Wokoma, seen here outside his Central District home, often focuses on gentrification.

Filmmaker, photographer and visual artist Inye Wokoma’s recent work is documenting one of the most compelling stories of our time: the gentrification that’s sweeping Seattle neighborhoods, changing the landscape of long-established communities and uprooting the residents who have called them home. Using family photos and heirlooms, interviews with locals, news soundbites and his own written narrative, the longtime Central District resident steadily combs through the subtext of rapid development, redlining, displacement and migration to examine the issue.

In his first solo exhibit at the Frye Art Museum last year, Wokoma debuted This Is Who We Are, a video meditation on ancestry, identity and displacement that hit home (it was excerpted at, and one of the highlights of this year’s highly-acclaimed Out of Sight arts fair; he expanded on those themes, along with nationality, in his audio visual piece, “Allegiance Reset,” at the Office of Arts and Culture’s Borderlands exhibit earlier this year). His second museum exhibit, An Elegant Utility, a multi media show which ran earlier this year at the Northwest African American Museum, further stitches together the city’s unfolding story as, he writes, “a statement about how community allows us to know who we are and imagine who we can be.”

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