ARTS at King Street Station

Two Different Somali Perspectives: Hawo Ali and Abdi Ibrahim

Composite of both artists' work: pink flowers on the left, photo of a Somali woman pushing up her cheeks in an exaggerated smile on the right.


September 7 - October 23, 2021

Hawo Ali is a Seattle-based Somali-American artist and community activist. Centering on the flowers and scenery of her home country Somalia, her art is inspired by her arrival to the United States and the new flora of the land. Hawo’s paintings often include abstraction and strong colors to accentuate her portrayal of traditional Somali practices, artifacts, and narratives on Somali culture. These diverse narratives represent vivid depictions ranging from the resourcefulness of the native nomadic people to the native lions, tigers, and hyenas that make up the land.

Abdi Ibrahim is a Somali-American photographer based in Los Angeles. Raised in Seattle, Abdi is the son of two immigrants. Since his start in film photography at the age of 17, his work has been featured in numerous publications including New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Billboard Magazine. Abdi also works as a film and commercial director, where he has worked on campaigns for Apple Music, REI, Subaru, and The Fader. Abdi photographs his subjects in what feels like abstract worlds — creating an image that tells a story and a surreal aesthetic that is meant to be imaginative but rooted in reality; a cross between documentary and conceptual.

Guided Tours

Both artists will offer four free tours of their work at the top of each hour starting at 2pm on opening day. Register for a slot here.

Two Different Somali Perspectives: Hawo Ali and Abdi Ibrahim is organized and presented by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and is curated by Ricky Reyes and S Surface in partnership with the ARTS at King Street Station Advisors. Support for the installation is provided by Benjamin Gale-Schreck and Blake Haygood.

Image: Details from Spring Flower in Somalia, Hawo Ali and Happy Sad, Abdi Ibrahim.

Noogu imow kulankeena Labo Ra'yi ee kala duwan oo Soomaali ah: Hawo Ali iyo Abdi Ibrahim, Kulanku wuxuu dhaciyaa September 7 ilaa October 23, 2021 Waxaana lagu qabaiyaa ARTS at King Street Station.

Xaawo Cali waa farshaxanley Somali-American ah oo joogta Seattle, bulshadana way u doodaa. Farshaxankeedu wuxuu u badanyahay ubaxyada iyo muuqaalka dalkeeda hooyo, Imaanashaha maraykankana iyo dhirta cusub ee dhulka ayaa dhiirrigeliyay inay sii wado. Sawirada Xaawo inta u badan waxaa ka muuqdo midab xoog iyo tayo leh. Midabkaas ayaa ka caawiyay inay xoojiso sawirkeeda, dhaqanka Soomaalida, farshaxan -yahannada, iyo sheekooyinka dhaqanka ee Soomaalida.

Cabdi Ibraahim waa sawir qaade Soomaali-Mareykan ah oo deggan Los Angeles. Wuxuu ku soo barbaaray magaalada Seattle waxaana dhalay labo somaali ee soo -galooti ahaa. Cabdi wuxuu dadka ku sawiraa adduunyo qurxoon - wuxuu qaadaa sawiro ka sheekeynaya sheeko iyo bilicsanaan dhab ah oo loola jeedo inay noqoto riyo ku jirta xaqiiqda hada; Tani waa talaabo u dhaxaysa dokumenteriga iyo fikirka guud.

laga bilaabo 2 duhurnimo ilaa 5 galabnimo markay tahay Talaado, Sebtember 7.Labaduba waxay qaban donaan kulamo 30-daqiiqo ah ee loogu talagalay in dadka la tuso shaqada ay qabtaan. Halkan iska diwaangeli:

ARTS -ka ee ku yaal Saldhigga Tareenka ee wadada King waa lacag la'aan wuxuuna u furan yahay dadweynaha, Talaadada ilaa Sabtida, 10ka subaxnimo ilaa 6 da fiidnimo. Waxaan tixraacaynaa waajibaadka gobolka ee waji xirka gudaha, iyadoon loo eegin heerka tallaalka dhammaan booqdayaasha waxaa laga rabaa inay wajiga xirtaan inta ay ku jiraan goobta dhexdeeda.

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About ARTS at King Street Station

ARTS at King Street Station, which incorporates a new 7,500-square-foot cultural space available to the general public, a studio for artists-in-residence and offices for staff of the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, was conceived to increase opportunities for people of color to generate and present their work and to reflect and foster the creativity and talents of people that continue to create the fabric of Seattle.

Over the past several years, we've listened to community feedback and continue to gather research on best practices in how to make this space welcoming.

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ARTS at King Street Station Advisors


ARTS engaged in an inclusive, city-wide outreach effort in order to hear from the community about their needs (check the #ARTSaboard hashtag on Twitter). Below are reports that capture the feedback and the plans created to address community needs.

ARTS' intention with the new space is to increase opportunities for communities of color to present their work. The dedicated cultural space will provide public access to presentation and creative spaces, ARTS staff and resources, space for city convenings, and professional development and other services that were requested through the outreach process. This is an innovative plan that utilizes an underused city resource to address issues of affordability and livability while preserving the unique creative economy that drives Seattle.

AFrican performers at King Street Station during Create City 2016. Photo by Sunita Martini.

King Street Station Programming Plan (pdf)

ARTS staff worked with the University of Washington Evans School Consulting Lab to produce a research report, "Reimagining King Street Station through a Racial Equity Lens" (May 2018), which is an aspirational document about best practices in cultural space programming.  

Watercolor of King Street Station by Tina Kayoma.

Reimagining King Street Station through a Racial Equity and Social Justice Lens, UW Evans School of Public Policy & Governance

 2018 King Street Station Community Feedback Report 

King Street Station Community Feedback Report 
PDF (5 MB)

About King Street Station

Historic image of King Street Station

King Street Station is a public asset that is an important part of Seattle's history. For over one hundred years it has improved connections, serving as a gateway for millions of travelers coming into Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. The station has spurred economic growth and helped establish Seattle as a major metropolitan city.

King Street Station first opened to the public in May 1906. Reed and Stem, the architectural firm responsible for New York City's historic Grand Central Terminal, designed the station. The San Marco bell tower of Venice, Italy, served as the model for the building's familiar clock tower. The structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Interior King Street StationKing Street Station, located on Jackson Street between Third and Fourth Avenue S., is a brick and granite three-story building with a twelve-story clock tower. The ground floor, accessed from King Street, is clad in granite. The walls of the second and third floors, as well as the clock tower, are faced in pressed brick with decorative terra cotta elements such as cornices and window lintels.

While much of the exterior of King Street Station has remained intact since the building was constructed in 1906, parts of the interior have been substantially altered and others have suffered neglect. Similarly, while nearly half of the facility's original finishes remain intact, most of the significant finishes in the lower portion of the station have been removed. In March 2008 the City of Seattle purchased the landmark building from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway Company.

Under city ownership, King Street Station underwent a $50 million renovation that achieved the following goals:

Exterior King Steet Station

  • Restore the building's historic character and grandeur
  • Upgrade facilities to meet present and future needs of rail and transit users
  • Enhance passenger safety and security
  • Promote sustainable design with a LEED building certification
  • Support efforts to transform the station into a modern transit hub
  • The station is served by Amtrak Cascades, Coast Starlight and Empire Builder long distance rail lines and Amtrak intercity buses. It includes convenient connections to Sound Transit commuter rail, local and regional buses, Sound Transit Link light rail, and the First Hill Seattle Streetcar.
  • The restoration of King Street Station ensures it remains a critical transportation hub and gateway into Seattle for the next hundred years.