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Laura C Wright

“The Duwamish Bend Housing Project” is a piece in the Dye Pharm & Camoufleur series started in 2015  in reaction to the abrupt rise of homelessness in Georgetown and the lack of a city effort to build affordable housing.  Using plants sourced from the area, I began construction of a large camouflage structure with a map of a low-income housing development that existed in Georgetown in from 1943 to 1954.

The Duwamish Bend Housing Project

This is a work-in-progress.   The map currently on the front of the piece does not have a satisfactory effect when seen in person.  The technique used to affix the map to the net is too shiny and distracts from the content.  I will be working to combine the image of the former community with a new technique for creating a net.

Camouflage has a significant and meaningful history in the Duwamish Valley. Contemporary Seattle was shaped by WWII when production was ramped up to produce bombers at Boeing Plant 2 next to the South Park Bridge. After removing Japanese farmers from the South Park side of the river to force them into internment camps, the government built camouflage over the plant to hide it from potential air raids. Small homes and trees were constructed on this camouflage, and actors were hired to walk on it so that it looked like an inhabited neighborhood.  Less than two miles away, Seattle built a real community of affordable housing for Boeing workers, and later veterans of WWII, for the population explosion the city experienced called the Duwamish Bend housing project.

After the war, industry continued to move into this area’s surrounding communities of affordable housing. Much of that housing continues to disappear, and neighborhoods experience the worst air quality, lead poisoning, and the highest rate of asthma in the city.  This piece, inspired by local protest art,  is meant to question our cities lack of equitable response to the housing crisis, cite a precedence for government action on this matter in the past, and educate people about Georgetown's landscape and history. 

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