The Detroit Artists Market

Featured Exhibition – The Essential Self: Meditations on the Politics of Identity

The Essential Self: Meditations on the Politics of Identity

June 12, 2015 - July 18, 2015

The Detroit Artists Market is pleased to present The Essential Self: Meditation on the Politics of Identity, an exhibition curated by Stephanie James, the Curator and Collection Educator for the Mott-Warsh Collection. 'The Essential Self' is a powerful group exhibition of artists that explore the complexities of Identity. On view from June 12 through July 18, 2015. The opening reception will be held on Friday, June 12 from 6-9 p.m. Free and open to the public.

Since the 1970s, the conception of identity has been in a constant state of flux. Its components which once amounted to the data found on a driver’s license evolved during the latter part of the 20th century to form a complex framework reflective of a global and pluralistic society in which groups united by race, gender, class, religion, sexual orientation, geography and more were given a voice. The dialogue created was ripe for visual artists who, through their art, often challenged audiences to question pre-conceived notions and beliefs surrounding aspects of identity.

In the 21st century, identity continues to be an effective tool for engagement, and yet questions pertaining to the notion of identity itself are still relevant. Is identity a man-made construct or innate character; individual or collective? Is it how we see ourselves or how others see us? Is it who we are or who we strive to be? These are just a few of the questions raised by the artists in this multi-disciplinary exhibit that explores the persistent politics of identity. 

Curator – Stephanie James

Stephanie James is a curator of modern and contemporary art, with a focus on art of the African diaspora. She is the Curator and Collection Educator for the Mott-Warsh Collection—a private collection based in Flint, Michigan. Previously, she was assistant curator of the General Motors Center for African American Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Ms. James has organized numerous exhibitions and educational programs, and has authored essays on American artists.


Exhibiting Artists

JenClare Gawaran

Salwan Georges

Carole Harris

Rashaun Rucker

Tylonn J. Sawyer

Miroslawa Sztuczka

Vito Valdez and Mary Laredo

Gallery Talk: Saturday, June 27, 2015