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My Testimony in Stone

"My Testimony in Stone," an eminent public sculpture by African American painter and sculptor James Washington Jr., graces the grounds of Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic. The clinic, named after a dedicated advocate for Black children’s health, was designed in 1990 by a team of Black architects in Seattle's Central District. 

The sculpture at Odessa Brown depicts a large carved bird sheltering its small chick, embodying protection and care. Washington articulated his artistic philosophy, stating, “Symbols lead to truth, transcending words to convey emotions.” The artwork encompasses multiple symbolic themes, including the representation of numbers three and four through a triangle and square. Notably, a circle with a dot inside a triangle symbolizes the connection between God, humankind, and the universe. Additionally, the sculpture features a nest of eggs and a small pig, forbidden in various cultures, symbolizing life's inevitable adversities. 

This influential work holds a significant place in Seattle's artistic landscape. Having relocated to Seattle in 1944, Washington's artistic legacy can be witnessed not only throughout the city but also in prestigious art museums such as The Smithsonian, the Whitney, SFMOMA, and the Seattle Art Museum.  

Through his artwork, Washington expressed his spirituality, a belief that imbued his creations with a transcendent quality that surpassed language and cultural barriers. He was a leading member of the renowned Northwest School, a collective of artists, writers, and sculptors that achieved international prominence during the mid-20th century.  

In Seattle's Central District, Washington and his wife, Janie, established their home and studio at 1816 26th Ave, in a charming craftsman style bungalow. This historic residence was later designated as a landmark in 1922, attesting to its architectural and cultural significance.

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