Cleveland High School Student Art Featured in “Layers of the Hijab”
Columbia City Gallery is presenting the exhibit “Layers of the Hijab” March 6 through April 21, featuring artwork by Mary Coss with students from the Cleveland High School East African Girls Art Workshop. The exhibit explores the complexities of East African girls navigating multiple cultures.
Mary Coss has taught art in the underserved and at risk communities of Southeast Seattle for many years. She was inspired to take a closer look at the young women in the East African community. The artwork in this exhibit is one result of a two-year workshop at Cleveland High School with two separate groups of East African teen girls, engaging in conversations about life, culture, and religion while making art.
She says, “I wondered if pairing conversations on ideology with art making may empower and allow the girls an opportunity to process their thoughts and feelings. Would this in turn, create an opportunity for these exploratory conversations and their subsequent thoughts to seep into the artwork that they make?” She facilitated a conversation about the edge they walk between the traditional contemporary worlds of their Muslim home lives and the world of urban American youth that they experience at school.
The girls and Coss will participate in a panel discussion about the exhibit at the gallery on Thursday, March 14, at 7 p.m. The event is free. Columbia City Gallery is located at 4864 Rainier Ave. S. in Seattle. To learn more, visit www.columbiacitygallery.com.