Seattle’s Most Influential People 2019: yəhaw̓ Curatorial Team

Satpreet Kahlon, Tracy Rector and Asia Tail have created an exhibit to recognize the work of Northwest indigenous artists
From left: Satpreet Kahlon, Tracy Rector and Asia Tail on site at King Street Station

This article appears in print in the November 2019 issue, as part of the Most Influential People of the Year feature. Click here to subscribe.

This art project’s March–August centerpiece event, yəhaw̓—an exhibit that also happened to be the inaugural show of the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture’s new King Street Station exhibit space—included work by every one of the 200 or so Northwest indigenous artists who applied. It’s part of a yearlong project of the same name to recognize the work of such artists, provide a safe space and bring their voices into the conversation—all organized by curators Tracy Rector, Asia Tail and Satpreet Kahlon, who surrounded the King Street show with a solar system full of satellite events (installations, performances, workshops and more) all over town.

Filmmaker Rector also keeps busy as an arts consultant (for Seattle Art Museum and its Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle Theatre Group and other arts entities), especially on Native American issues, and as a cofounder of Longhouse Media, which supports indigenous work in new media. (Rector also made our list of Most Influential People in 2018.) Tail has shown her work at several Northwest galleries and curated shows of Native American work in Tacoma, her home base. Born in India and raised in Chicago, Kahlon now divides her time between coasts, working as an artist in Providence, Rhode Island, as well as in Seattle.

Their colleagues for the King Street Station show included longtime arts advocate Randy Engstrom, who came to his current post as director of the Office of Arts & Culture (since 2012) after stints with several local community organizations, such as the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center and the Fremont Unconventional Centre; and King Street Station program lead S. Surface, who is tireless in bringing art and people together through working with exhibition space The Alice Gallery and the annual Design in Public festival.

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