Arts & Entertainment

Dawoud Bey Engages UWT Community with Art Photography

As part of Washington’s percent-for-art ordinance, Dawoud Bey is transforming our campus with photography.

A reception was held on March 23 as subjects were chosen to appear in the photographs that would be taken during the week after. The prints will be displayed permanently on the walls of the northern area of the Snoqualmie Building.

As Bey described his style, he noted that he liked documenting ordinary people. Getting together two people who don’t know each other and fostering a relationship. What he aims to do is bring pieces of the community together.

He said his photos are about present time. He spends roughly a half hour to forty-five minutes taking the pictures.

Chancellor Debra Friedman remarked that when deciding on how to use the arts budget, she spent a lot of time figuring out what would make sense. She pursued Bey for a year.

Bey chose to shoot subjects on campus, at King’s Books, and at the Tacoma Art Museum.

In an interview, Bey remarked that “Tacoma is a very interesting, engaging community…it seems to be all about community here. There’s a lot of investment in community, fostering relationships. Seems to be the perfect place for this kind of project.”

Bey has worked as an artist since 1975. He held his first exhibit in 1979 at a Brooklyn gallery.

Bey explained that his work with UWT is part of a project that started years ago about strangers and the community. Bey remarked, “sitting next to someone you don’t know raises questions about the difference in social stratification.”