In response to COVID-19, the Flint Institute of Arts is closed through May 10

Learn More

Whitfield Lovell, American, born 1959. Epoch, 2001. Charcoal on wood and found objects. 77 1/2 x 55 x 17 1/2 inches. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William L. Richards, by exchange, 2002.13

Community

January 26, 2020 - April 19, 2020

Hodge Gallery Henry Gallery

Community highlights some of the most important African American artists in the FIA’s collection. Through paintings, sculpture, drawings, and photographs, this exhibition shows the diversity as well as the commonalities of African American art, encompassing thematic areas of people, place, and perspective. From portraits of well-known subjects such as Rosa Parks and Claressa Shields to less familiar individuals, these works reflect community. Place is portrayed through real locations and those imagined that nonetheless invite reflection. Lastly, perspective is offered through various lenses from realism to abstraction. 

Community Choice

Unique to this exhibition, visitors were able to vote for one of three works on loan by artists not currently in the collection. Voting took place through March 8, 2020. Using funds raised by the Community Gala, the work with the largest number of votes will be purchased by the museum. The work chosen by the community was Stephen Towns's The Gift of Lineage #5.

The voting process and subsequent purchase reinforce the notion that the objects in the FIA’s collection belong to the public while emphasizing the collection’s capacity for change and future growth.

Works on Loan for Community Choice
The Gift of Lineage #5, 2018. Stephen Towns, American, b. 1980. Acrylic, Bristol board, metal leaf, natural and synthetic fabric, polyester and cotton thread on wood panel, 36 x 24 inches. On loan from De Buck Gallery, New York.
The Gift of Lineage #5
, 2018. Stephen Towns, American, b. 1980. Acrylic, Bristol board, metal leaf, natural and synthetic fabric, polyester and cotton thread on wood panel, 36 x 24 inches. On loan from De Buck Gallery, New York.

Stephen Towns is an American painter working primarily in oil, acrylic, and fibers. His work explores how American history influences contemporary society. Born in Lincolnville, South Carolina, in 1980, he received his BFA from the University of South Carolina. He lives and works in Baltimore. He has been exhibited locally and nationally and his work is in private and public collections, including the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City.

Le Damn Revisited," 2018. Mequitta Ahuja, American, b. 1976. Oil on canvas, 84 x 72 inches. On loan from artist.
Le Damn Revisited, 2018. Mequitta Ahuja, American, b. 1976. Oil on canvas, 84 x 72 inches. On loan from artist.

Mequitta Ahuja is a contemporary American feminist painter of African American and South Asian descent who lives in Baltimore. She creates works of self-portraiture that combine themes of myth and art history with personal identity. To create her paintings, she relies on a three-step process that involves performance, photography, and drawing/painting. Born 1976 in Grand Rapids, MI, she grew up in Connecticut. She received her BA at Hampshire College and her MFA at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she was mentored by contemporary artist Kerry James Marshall.
Aina, 2016. Ayana V. Jackson, American, b. 1977. Archival pigment print on German etching paper, 51 x 30 inches. On loan from David Klein Gallery, Birmingham.
Aina
, 2016. Ayana V. Jackson, American, b. 1977. Archival pigment print on German etching paper, 51 x 30 inches. On loan from David Klein Gallery, Birmingham.

Ayana Jackson is an internationally recognized American photographer who is based in the cities of New York, Paris, and Johannesburg. Her work examines the history of black bodies as represented in art and media with a focus on those of black women.Born in 1977 in Livingston, New Jersey, she received her BA in Sociology from Spelman College, also studied at the University of Arts Berlin.

From the Exhibition

  • Desiree Kelly, American. Shields, n.d. Oil and spray paint on traffic sign. 35 x 35 inches. Museum purchase with funds from the Collection Endowment, 2019.13

  • Vincent Smith, American, 1929–2003. Couple, ca. 1961–65. Oil on wood. 39 1/2 x 48 inches. Museum purchase, 2011.326

  • Renée Stout, American, born 1958. Marie Laveau, 2009/2013. Color pencil drawing over lithograph proof on paper. 21 x 21 inches. Museum purchase with funds from the Collection Endowment, 2013.64

  • Charles White, American, 1918–1979. Wanted Poster Series #17, 1971. Oil and pencil on poster board. 60 x 30 inches. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. B. Morris Pelavin, 1971.43 ©1963 The Charles White Archives

  • Willie Birch, American, b. 1942, Woman Reading Magazine, 1999, acrylic and charcoal on paper, 60 x 60 inches. Flint Institute of Arts. Museum purchase, 2011.1