Taswira is an ecosystem to support minority artisans growth, accelerate and showcase their work locally and globally on every wall, platform or stage.
"The story of TASWIRA grew out of African and American soil..."

When, in 2019, a young woman from Seattle, WA, met a group of woman from rural Mombasa, Kenya. Inspired by a shared desire for collaboration, indenpendecy, and support within both communites, TASWIRA, a social enterprise, was born. Founded in 2020, TASWIRA continues to empower the African art industry through its values of showcasing emerging African/Black artists , building out unique cultural spaces, experiences, community, and advocating for equitable opportunities for all artists of color.

taswira's milestones

Mar. 2019 
TASWIRA's concept is established with the Bamburi Women’s Empowerment Center (BWEC) in Mombasa, Kenya
Oct. 2019
TASWIRA showcases designs from BWEC in first fashion show and films their first documentary of the project.
Dec. 2020 
TASWIRA becomes a licensed business in Seattle, WA and launched its first website.
Feb. 2021
TASWIRA participates in their first in-person pop up experience post-pandemic.
Apr. 2021 
The first collection of "TASWIRA Bucket Hats" are released.
Jul. 2021
The Maasai Tribe and TASWIRA collaborate on "The Modern Warrior" Creative Campaign
Aug. 2021
"Flo's Crewneck" successfully raises funds to supply a Mombasa primary school with supplies for 100+ students.
Nov. 2021
TASWIRA launches its first "African Streetwear" unisex clothing line, winning 2021 Best Designer award in Seattle African Fashion Week
Feb. 2022 - Apr. 2022
TASWIRA opens its first storefront in Pioneer Square, Seattle. Becoming the first African Streetwear store in Washington State, and a grant recipient of the Seattle Restored program.
Feb. 2023
TASWIRA releases its second launch of satin-lined Bucket Hats, using traditional "Maasai Shuka" textile.
May. 2023 
Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell signs and delivers proclamation declaring May 4th, 2023 as "TASWIRA Day" in celebration of signing the storefronts longterm lease.
July 2023
TASWIRA emerges as an official Cultural Partner Booth at the Seattle Art Fair, inlcuding the fair's first merchandise collaboration with a CP organization.
Nov. 2023
Author/poet Rajnii Eddins and TASWIRA join forces in hosting their first Youth Creative Writing Workshop series.
Feb. 2024 
The TASWIRA storefront relaunches as an African Fine Arts Gallery with new remodel and Olumide Oresegun solo exhibition.  
Feb. 2024 
Allied Arts Foundation and TASWIRA officially form a Fiscal Sponsor Partnership in supporting arts programming and providing community resources. 
June 2024
TASWIRA launches its first residency program exhibit, titled "The Residency: NOW or NVR"

Meet the team


Avery Barnes, Founder & CEO

Taking on a new role as a City of Seattle Arts Commissioner, titled as “The Connector” by the Seattle MET Magazine and a Forbes Seattle 30 Under 30 awardee in 2023. Miss Barnes is a self-taught entrepreneur, African arts curator, and community builder. Whose passion for cultural empowerment led her in 2022 to establish Seattle’s only African art gallery and neighborhood staple in Pioneer Square. Inspired by her experiences developing rural entrepreneurship and women’s initiatives in Kenya, Avery's work extends beyond the gallery through historical conservation, leading youth programming, and mentoring artists on local and global scale. 

John Wesley Sargent, Senior Art Advisor

Provides comprehensive guidance on art acquisitions, brand communication, and exhibition strategy to enhance the gallery's overall impact and audience reach. This role focuses on cultivating and expanding a diverse collector database, with an emphasis on engaging new and younger collectors.

John Wesley is an international art dealer, curator, and advisor based in Seattle, WA. Approaching a decade of experience in the world of fine art, his work is centered around developing contemporary collections & exhibitions from the Afro/Indigenous diaspora. Wesley is fascinated with exploring the role of art & language as tools for building the cultural architecture of the future.With a keen eye for contemporary talent and a passion for economic development, he champions innovative models for partnerships within the global art community. He has partnered with art galleries in NYC, Seattle, Mexico City, and New Orleans, as well as collaborated on events with Seattle Art Museum. His latest project is a feature-length art film set for production in Tokyo, Japan in Fall 2024.

Malaika Toyo, Executive Strategy Officer

Coming Soon...

Advisory board