Camille A. Brown

Doing anything Friday night? How about hanging out on 82nd Avenue?

The East Side strip, which runs north-south for many miles, was once considered a barrier of sorts between the city and the sprawl, and also an economic barrier, with a richer urban population to the west and a poorer, semi-rural population to the east. East County didn’t get in the game very much, and when it did, it was often as a political football. 82nd became neon central, home to everything from used car lots to Southeast Asian restaurants to massage parlors – and, increasingly, a rich stew of ethnic and immigrant cultures.

Signs of the times: Sabina Haque's 82nd Avenue.

Signs of the times: Sabina Haque’s 82nd Avenue.

That’s what makes it interesting to Portland artist Sabina Haque, a very good painter and collagist whose work in recent years has moved also toward installation, film, and cultural and cross-cultural projects, including her provocative series on drone warfare in Pakistan, where she grew up.

Haque, as artist in residence for the Portland Archives & Records Center, has been digging deeply into the area’s long and complicated history, finding a cultural through-line to match the strip of concrete that divides culture from culture and east from west. From 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday she’ll unveil what she’s created in Annexation & Assimilation: East 82nd Ave, a giant exhibition/event in the 8,000-square-foot APANO/JADE multicultural center at 82nd and Southeast Division Street. The free event will include video projections on 20-foot screens, oral histories, shadow theater, poster installations and more – for some, a rousing introduction to a part of Portland they hardly know; to others, a simple statement of the place they live.


Camille A. Brown’s gripping dance of racial stereotypes

"Mr Tol E. RAncE" takes its cues from pop images of African Americans

Camille A. Brown


At the start of the Q&A that followed the opening night performance of Camille A. Brown and Dancers’ “Mr. Tol E. RAncE” at Lincoln Hall, moderator Kemba Shannon asked, “Who here cried?”

A few hands went up. “Who here laughed?”

Nearly everyone’s hands shot up. “Who here said to themselves, ‘I don’t know if I can keep watching this?’

Lots of hands went up, slowly, and a broken, nervy laugh bounced around the room. It sounded relieved, grateful that someone officially acknowledged how deeply discomforting so much of the material that “Mr. Tol E. RAncE” dissected and brought to life made the audience feel.


Oregon ArtsWatch Archives