Open House | ReEnvisioned: Contemporary Portraits of our Black Ancestors 

Saturday, June 22 from 4:30-7:30 p.m.

Portland artist Jeremy Okai Davis unveils two new commissioned portraits of Letitia Carson and Thomas C. King at the Bush House Museum

About this event

We are excited to invite you to a very special event: the unveiling of two extraordinary portraits by Portland-based artist Jeremy Okai Davis.

The event is free and all are welcome. Jeremy will be available throughout the event to talk about his work, these two portraits and the ReEnvisioned series. 

Background: Portraits of Early Oregon Black Pioneers

In 2022 we commissioned Jeremy to paint a series of portraits as part of our broader effort to reinvent and reimagine the Bush House Museum. As curators of this historic site, we are acutely aware of the harm Asahel Bush inflicted on people of color in our state. We are also aware that people of color are painfully underrepresented in most permanent collections, including ours.

Our invitation to Jeremy was simple: tell the story of early Black pioneers whose contributions to Oregon history have long been overlooked. For this next installment of portraits, Jeremy chose two major figures – Letitia Carson (1815-1888) and Thomas C. King (1847-1904).

The portraits are stunning – Jeremy is a highly talented artist who paints with grace and skill.

We have included below short bios of Jeremy, Letitia and Thomas, and we hope you are able to enjoy these beautiful paintings in person.


Jeremy Okai Davis was born and grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. He later received a BFA in painting from the University of North Carolina (Charlotte, NC). Davis relocated to Portland, OR in 2007 where he has continued his studio practice in addition to working as a graphic designer and illustrator. His work has been shown nationally at the Studio Museum of Harlem in New York, THIS Los Angeles, Wa Na Wari in Seattle, and The Rotating Art Program at Portland International Airport. Elizabeth Leach Gallery began representing Jeremy Okai Davis in 2019.

Davis’s work resides in public and private collections including the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center at Oregon State University, the University of Oregon, the Port of Portland, the Multnomah County Courthouse, the Ledding Library in Milwaukie, the Seaside Public Library, Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel, Ida B. Wells-Barnett High School in Portland, and Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, WA.

Davis was included in the traveling exhibition Black Matter, curated by Tammy Jo Wilson, which included stops at The Bush Barn in Salem, as well as the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg, and The Arts Center in Corvallis. Currently his work can be seen in the solo exhibition, Jeremy Okai Davis, Paintings & Lithos, at The Little Gallery at Oregon State University on view through February 28. Some of his upcoming plans later this year include a mural commission for Meta Corporation in Redmond, WA. and the inclusion of several paintings in the upcoming exhibition, Black Artists of Oregon, at the Portland Art Museum, on view August 26, 2023 through March 17, 2024.

Letitia Carson

Letitia came to Oregon as a slave or former slave in 1845 with David Carson. She gave birth to a daughter while traveling to Oregon. Soon after arriving the family settled into a cabin that they built on a 640-acre land claim. 

Thomas C. King

Thomas was raised in Kentucky and likely spent his early life enslaved. He came to Oregon in the 1890s and worked for the R.S. Wallace family in West Salem for many years. King eventually started a homestead near Beaver in Tillamook County. The property is now currently held by the State of Oregon and classified as a part of the Tillamook State Forest.