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How I wished I could have made it to Seattle last spring (2016); it is only 5 or 6 hours, via Interstate 5 north, from Portland/Salem. The Seattle Museum was hosting an exhibition of the work of Kehinde Wiley.Wiley’s work, his paintings, are contemporary portraitures, primarily of African Americans, placed in historical settings and/or motifs. His blending of historical place/style with contemporary subjects has imbued his work with an authority and freshness as to make his paintings quite singular.

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Wiley has been working prolifically since the early 2000s from his art studio in Harlem New York. He has also worked with sculpture, video, and stain glass. Wiley is among a group of contemporary artists who comfortably blend together different time periods and styles into refreshing new artistic expressions.


Another fascinating artist, within this genre, is photographer Mark Abouzeid. The Italian photographer revisions classical Renaissance portrait paintings with his contemporary photography. Abouzeid uses modern immigrants, as some of the subjects, for the purpose of provoking a conversation about the past and the present milieu of Italian life.

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Abouzeid is a photojournalist and a visual artist (photography/videos). His artistic pursuits, since 2000, have taken him to many areas of the Middle East and Africa with emphasis on cultural anthropology projects through the lens of digital storytelling.

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