Detroit GRIND Curatorial Statement by Roula David of Inner State Gallery

Throughout history contributions of minority groups have often been exploited for a myriad of motives. As a result, these groups often lack accurate representation of their culture and its origins. In today’s culture art can act as a vehicle to transform fiction into reality and place the power back in the hands of the ancestors allowing them to reclaim their history and voice.

Detroit, the most densely African-American populated major city in the United States, has often seen its narrative subjugated just like the minority group that resides within its borders. But Detroit lends a unique voice to not only the African-American experience, but American culture as a whole. The fact, that Detroit is a true black city, is where Detroit GRIND finds its unique strengths.

Each of the contributing artists work featured in this collaborative exhibition is a chapter in the narrative of Detroit, all while illustrating their distinctive, personal experiences, understanding of the past, and shared knowledge of what is happening in today's society from a cultural perspective.

Detroit GRIND will feature the work of Detroiters Sydney G. James, Tylonn J. Sawyer, Nic Notion, Tiff Massey, Rashaun Rucker & Olayami Dabls. This exhibition is a study of the current work of these six Detroit artists that speaks to the last 40 years of Detroit’s artistic history. Not only as African Americans, but as creatives these individuals have helped define, create and activate the cultural plexus of Detroit. Detroit GRIND acts as a catalyst to give minority artists ownership over not only their own personal stories, but the stories of the city they reflect upon.

Collaborating with RUSH Arts on this exhibition proves to have further implications on the significance of the organization's roots of providing resources to artists of color who lack representation in not only New York City’s Chelsea arts district, the hub of the international art world, but the art world as a whole.

This exhibition acts as a visual manifestation of an authentic portrayal of not only a people, but of a city so often misunderstood. By expressing tones of the history and cultural events of the present the contributing artists are focusing their visual megaphone, artistic talents & craftsmanship by amplifying their ideas and perceptions of reality of a city with a rich history.

From Jazz to Motown, Techno to Hip-hop the world has infinitely benefited from the history of Detroit’s musical voice. It is now time to take notice of what is happening in the visual arts that is being created by individuals that exist, create and thrive in this environment.

Please view this music video of “Detroit is Black” by participating artist Tiff Massey and producer Waajeed