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Finalists selected for the 2020 Betty Bowen Award
Tariqa Waters’ whimsical, Pop-inspired work references childhood memories where vanity and self-preservation collide to mask systemic and generational pain. Her work examines ideas of femininity, beauty, race, sexuality, and inclusion. Using photography, videography, and sculptural fabrication, Waters attempts to create innovative ways to distort reality to the point where marginalization is impossible.



SEATTLE, WA.- The Seattle Art Museum and the Betty Bowen Committee, chaired by Gary Glant, announced the six artists selected as finalists for this year’s Betty Bowen Award: Dawn Cerny, Roland Dahwen, Elijah Hasan, Marilyn Montufar, Christian Alborz Oldham, and Tariqa Waters. The juried award honors a Northwest artist for their original, exceptional, and compelling work. The award was founded in 1977 to honor the legacy of Betty Bowen (1918–1977), who was an avid champion of artists in the Pacific Northwest. Founded by Bowen’s friends, the award is administered by SAM.

The Betty Bowen Committee—comprising Northwest curators, collectors, and artists—reviewed 615 applications from visual artists residing in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. One of this year’s finalists will receive an unrestricted cash award in the amount of $15,000 and will have their work displayed at SAM. Two Special Recognition Awards of $2,500 will also be granted. Due to the financial hardships many creatives are facing this year due to COVID-19, the Committee is extending the awards for 2020 to include three more opportunities at $1,250.

Last year’s winner was Lynne Siefert, the first filmmaker to win the award. She creates experimental non-fiction films that address the climate crisis in seductive yet unsettling ways. Her work will be featured at the Seattle Art Museum in a solo exhibition opening October 15, 2020.

The winner of the 43rd Betty Bowen Award will be announced in September. Their solo exhibition will be at SAM in 2021, with dates to be announced.

FINALISTS




Dawn Cerny - Seattle, WA

Cerny’s sculptures explore the idea of “home” as both a concept and a place, and as an arena rich for investigation. Her recent body of work examines ideas of furniture and mothers as metaphors: figures that secure value for their potential to hold, display, or be absentmindedly left with things. This pattern of holding as the creation of intimacy and belonging, pleasure, and self-preservation plays out repeatedly in her work.

Roland Dahwen - Portland, OR
Dahwen’s work explores memory, race, and migration through film, video, and performance. He often collaborates with poets, dancers, and nonprofessional actors. He intentionally creates work that exists in the space between fiction and nonfiction, using elusiveness to purposefully distance the audience from his work.

Elijah Hasan - Portland, OR
Hasan is a writer, filmmaker, and director. His projects lay bare the realities of systemic racism, social justice, and activism, exploring subjects such as the experiences of Black police officers in the Portland police department and the parallels between Americans who fought in the Spanish Civil War and contemporary members of Antifa. He centers the stories of Black communities as they navigate these realities, all while on a personal journey of artistic and spiritual growth.

Marilyn Montufar - Seattle, WA
Montufar is a Xicana artist, activist, and educator. Her photography explores the identity of the underrepresented—women, immigrants, youth, and LGBTQ communities using portraiture and the ever-evolving urban and natural landscape. Through her work, Montufar aims to create a pathway for conversation, compassion and understanding to connect diverse communities.

Christian Alborz Oldham - Seattle, WA
Oldham draws their inspiration largely from the Japanese art form of ikebana, which they have studied extensively. Their work encompasses multiple modes including lecture, essay, physical and digital publishing, installation, and performance. They often show their work under pseudonyms, or anonymously, attempting to subvert standard growth economics and encourage audience members to participate in the work.

Tariqa Waters - Seattle, WA
Waters’ whimsical, Pop-inspired work references childhood memories where vanity and self-preservation collide to mask systemic and generational pain. Her work examines ideas of femininity, beauty, race, sexuality, and inclusion. Using photography, videography, and sculptural fabrication, Waters attempts to create innovative ways to distort reality to the point where marginalization is impossible.










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