Past Shows

Riot Babies: 50 Years on Detroit, Fire, And Freedom

August 16 - September 21, 2018



Judy Bowman
adrienne maree brown
Ijania Cortez
Ashara Ekundayo
Desiree Kelly
Ingrid LaFleur
Sabrina Nelson
Halima Cassels
with a soundtrack by Rimarkable

Riot Babies is an inter-decade and intergenerational audio-visual dialogue around the impact of collective resistance on Black women’s artistic practice. It connects foundational energies of mass protests throughout the 1960s to flashpoints defining political epochs that have followed since, including this present moment. The show features 9 womxn all born in Detroit: Judy Bowman, adrienne maree brown, Ijania Cortez, Ashara Ekundayo, Desiree Kelly, Ingrid LaFleur, Sabrina Nelson, and Halima Cassells, with a soundtrack by RiMarkable. The show is a prescient intervention as Black women are using all natures of expressions and materials in their protest. In this #BlackLivesMatter moment where queer Black feminisms are slowly but surely displacing traditional masculinist politics, Riot Babies is a small but mighty curated representation of the always present (but not always recognized) Black feminist grammar. This grammar is a grammar extending beyond essentialized notions of identity: a grammar that, in true sankofa tradition, looks to the past to frame conversations and visions about the Afro-future and the Afro-now.

- Zoé Samudzi, Artist-in-Residence

Curator's statement:

Rebellion 1968 - The act of resistance and the point not accepting police brutality or conditions related to segregation with housing and schools options for blacks who were already oppressed from the job market. This blue collar mentality, still exists here in this new 2018 motor(less)city. Women create here and build community and character. We still work the line, however it’s based in community creative capital. We work to make it shine from the inside first, planting creative seeds for tomorrow’s growth of a new crop of creatives. We mentor, paint, plant, nurture, install, socially and politically organize a continued movement towards a future that is The Power of The Black Female. The future in Detroit is Now and we are here to drive it forward with our sound, installations, portraits and visual voices. Like a bridge over troubled tainted water, in some cases, we wage creative love. Grace Lee Boggs said and we agree, “We are the ones we are waiting for.”

- Ashara Ekundayo and Sabrina Nelson, co-curators