The Artist Behind Tukwila’s Juneteenth Commemoration

Each year, we partner with local artists to create a unique piece of artwork for the annual Tukwila Juneteenth Commemoration poster. This year, we’re excited to announce that we had the pleasure of working with Moses Sun, an acclaimed multimedia artist and activist who has called the Seattle area home for almost two decades. Sun’s works can be found all around the city, breathing life into once-barren concrete walls and commemorating sites of progressive social movements. 

Perennially jumping between digital and analog mediums, Sun maintains an artistic throughline centered on telling the story of Black diaspora through “a communion and a conversation between the ancestors, the inner self, and the mystery of making.” As for his own personal story, Sun will tell you how growing up in an activist household in Fayetteville, N.C., helped expose him to experiences that would influence his entire artistic journey, from little kid doodling on pieces of paper all the way to multimedia maestro beautifully adept at capturing the cultural zeitgeist of an entire generation. His childhood was marked by growing up in an activist household where his father and mother participated in a gamut of human rights marches and civic engagements. Although distinct in form, these demonstrations were no different than social movements of today, and Sun’s works give expression to the human element continually struggling to bend this complex history towards justice and beauty. 

After Sun graduated high school from the University of North Carolina School of Arts, he attended the Art Institute of Chicago. There, he studied under mentors like Kerry James Marshall and Nick Cave. After gaining the experience he needed to set out on his own, Sun traveled around the country in search of opportunities, gaining experience in all kinds of professions, from branding to design to TV production. 

In 2006, Sun made his way to Seattle to fill a Creative Director role for an internet search engine company, and he’s been in the area ever since. He’ll be the first to tell you that it took him a little bit of time to wrap his head around the city’s art scene and understand its direction, but today, Sun is a prominent, well-respected, member. One of his most high-profile projects came in the summer of 2020, when he was invited to join other artists in creating a Black Lives Matter mural on Pine Street during the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. His contribution is the letter “M.” Sun formed a strong bond with the 15 other mural artists, and they eventually went on to establish the Vivid Matter Collective. The project has been viewed by millions and marks an important moment in Seattle history, BIPOC (Black Indigenous and People of Color) history, and the history of social movements everywhere. Since creating the piece, Sun has been commissioned for projects all over the city for all kinds of organizations. 

We’re humbled and honored to be on that list of commissioners, and excited to finally share with you the piece that Sun created for Tukwila’s fourth annual Juneteenth Commemoration, a piece that “celebrates the connection African Americans and people of the African Diaspora have to ancestors whose resilience, diversity of thought, and creativity propelled us to thrive today.

This year’s annual Juneteenth Commemoration will take place on Wednesday, June 19, from 11am – 1pm at the Sullivan Center in Tukwila Village. For more details, check out our event page! We hope you will join us for this special day of remembrance and celebration.