THIS IS HOW WIDE THE GALLERY IS Its a stairwell, yall. The best damn stairwell in Seattle. Meet Tariqa Waters, owner and curator of Martyr Sauce, at 122 South Washington Street in Pioneer Square.
  • JG
  • THIS IS HOW WIDE THE GALLERY IS It's a stairwell, y'all. The best damn stairwell in Seattle. Meet Tariqa Waters, owner and curator of Martyr Sauce, at 122 South Washington Street in Pioneer Square.
It's just a stairwell. But not every stairwell has a curator. A web site. A sandwich board advertising it. A name: Martyr Sauce. Actual glass jars printed with custom labels for Martyr Sauce in the window (and for sale). Not every stairwell is lined with paintings all the way up, and at the bottom, as a welcome, a giant—giant—portrait painting of Andrew Jackson, wearing a slave collar.

Tariqa Waters is the owner, curator, and painter-of-Andrew-Jackson. I just happened on Martyr Sauce walking by last night, during the grand opening. It was pretty grand. Most galleries aren't half this energetic right off the bat. Martyr Sauce advertises itself, right on the nutritional label, as 100 percent of your daily needed iron intake, and made of:

Ingredients: Piss, Distilled Vinegar (contains 2% or less of the following) Irreverence, High Fructose Cough Syrup, Non Hydrogenated Snake Oil, Street (and/or) Book Smarts, White Privilege, Black Rage, Natural Flavor, Artificial Color.

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Elizabeth Lopezs painting Civil War (2011), is three feet by three feet. It aint easy to see it during the opening in the stairwell, but make an appointment for any other time and youll see it better.
  • Courtesy of the artist
  • Elizabeth Lopez's painting Civil War (2011), is three feet by three feet. It ain't easy to see it during the opening in the stairwell, but make an appointment for any other time and you'll see it better.
Waters moved with her husband and two kids from Atlanta about a year ago; this stairwell leads up to their Pioneer Square apartment. Ryan Waters is a serious situation of a guitarist; he's in Sade's band. (Watch the second video down on this page, and here's his bio.) The Waterses are a whole infusion of art to Seattle. They came here because, well, they didn't want to go to LA, Tariqa said. (Yay for being the non-LA, Seattle. Hear that, rapidly gentrifying Capitol Hill.)

The first show is paintings by Elizabeth Lopez. Waters found Lopez working at Seattle Art Museum. "That's where all the rogue artists work, at the cafeteria and gift shop at SAM," Waters says. Martyr Sauce's next opening is the first Thursday in January; scour the low-wage workers at local museums to guess who it might be.