Our Story

TASWIRA, which means “vision” in Swahili, stands for Transformative Action for Sustainable Women's Initiatives & Resources in Africa.

Established by Avery Barnes in 2019,
 TASWIRA is a versatile and eclectic space located in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square that functions as a Cultural Art gallery, retail store, and event space. Following her first experience volunteering at the Bamburi Women’s EmpowermentCenter (BWEC) in Kenya, Avery founded the organization as a way to support the female artisans at the center who handcrafted TASWIRA’s unique line of Afrocentric streetwear, accessories, handwoven home goods, and other retail products.

TASWIRA is a purpose-driven organization whose overarching mission is to create opportunities for historically disadvantaged artists and entrepreneurs to participate and compete in our global economy. Each facet of the business supports this mission in a distinct way:
First, by serving as a multicultural art gallery in Seattle dedicated to showcasing African artwork. TASWIRA uniquely exhibits contemporary artists along with historical artifacts and crafts that aim to bring awareness and appreciation for indigenous cultures and history into the mainstream American consciousness.

Second, through its retail arm, TASWIRA aims to advance economic equity for creatives, entrepreneurs, and nonprofits. Products sold through TASWIRA are sourced locally and internationally from these individuals and organizations. Including the BWEC, who make them at 3X the cost of goods, and monthly donations are then redirected back to Kenya to keep the BWEC running.

Finally, TASWIRA hosts a variety of diverse programs and public events—including Small Business Markets, Artist Exhibitions, Salsa Nights, and Live Music Events— all adding to the diversity TASWIRA represents and offers as an event space for all communities.