Profile: Tariqa Waters (1980-)

Tariqa Waters is a visual and performance artist, curator, educator, and gallerist in Seattle, Washington. She is the owner of Martyr Sauce gallery in the Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.

Early life and education

Born in Richmond, Virginia and having lived in Washington DC and Sicily, Waters arrived in Seattle in 2012. Waters is a self-taught artist.


Waters opened Martyr Sauce in 2012, as an artist-led gallery and neighborhood cultural institution, showcasing underrepresented artists. In 2015, along with the late Jonathan Moore, she founded RE: DEFINITION, a gallery at the Paramount Theater bar with the same aim of elevating underrepresented artists, as well as redefining historic cultural space.

Alongside her work at Martyr Sauce and RE:DEFINITION, Waters continued work on her own art. Her solo exhibition, 100% Kanekalon: The Untold Story of the Marginalized Matriarch, opened at the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle in 2016. The title refers to synthetic hair extensions which are part of an African American Hair ritual. 

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