Art in Detroit is off to a great start for the new year with two exhibits opening last night and three more tonight. At Work Detroit near Orchestra Hall, curator Odie Rynell Cash has the art show Black Detroit 21 as one of several related events, with the next one in February being a presentation by the artists to Detroit Public Schools students.
Cash "pre-selected a group of artists, [we] put our heads together … his focus is the predominantly Black [population of Detroit] and what role we'd play in moving the city forward," explained Christopher Batten, one of the artists, whose painting Jasmine, a Rose from Concrete appears on one of the postcards for the exhibit.
Besides Batten, the show also includes photographs by Corine Vermeulen and two oil paintings by Tylonn Sawyer. The two subjects of Sawyer's paintings, Mrika Robinson and Tyree Williams, had seen the paintings on Facebook but this did not prepare them for the impression of seeing the paintings at actual size. "I knew his work is phenomenal," Robinson said. She was "hanging out at Northern Lights" when Sawyer asked to take some photographs of her. When she entered the gallery last night, everyone recognized her from the painting. "I can't believe it, I'm so happy I came here tonight," Robinson said.
The exhibit runs until March 22, according to the gallery's website.