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Natural Flavor. Artificial Color.

Yellow No. 5 examines the transactional relationship between culture and consumerism and how they often work in tandem to conceal their connection. Tariqa Waters’ project-based, multi-disciplinary exhibition sees her collaborate with regional artists to explore the grab-and-go nature of material goods and how these products serve as armor to shield us from our intrinsically codependent relationship with consumerism—using artificial additives.

Artist/curator, Tariqa Waters’ whimsical, larger-than-life, pop-inspired work was first shown at BAM in the Bellwether 2018 exhibition. Her eight-foot-tall replica of a pink roll of Quilted Northern toilet paper featuring a self-portrait of an exhausted mother in hair rollers and a rain bonnet references a conglomerate of early childhood memories where urgency and vanity work in tandem to mask generational pain: the pink elephant in the room to match the towels.

For Yellow No. 5, Bellevue Arts Museum has commissioned new work from Waters and 10 additional artists. Each will come together with their own specific practices threading a common narrative about contemporary American culture through humor and caustic social commentary.

In describing her vision for the exhibition, Waters says, “How we reconcile our personal choices with our outside view of the world is worth exploring. America’s greatest privilege is the opportunity that we have to access one another’s cultures in appreciation rather than appropriation. As a result, we unknowingly blend experiences that shape the core of who we are with objects and spaces constructed without us in mind. Have we supported and represented one another merely through co-existing? How can we best lampoon cultural codependency while maintaining the ability to laugh at ourselves?”

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