ADESHOLA MAKINDE TO DEBUT SOLO EXHIBITION “RELEVANT” HIGHLIGHTING CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT IN DETROIT, MICHIGAN
RELEVANT is Chicago-based artist Adeshola Makinde’s debut solo exhibition curated by Juana Williams, highlighting the fervor of the Civil Rights Movement, a significant moment in African Americans’ long-held fight for the same constitutional and legal rights other Americans benefited from. He is particularly referencing protest signs from the Civil Rights era to encourage a discussion centered on the continued relevance of the signs more than 50 years later. The exhibition will open on Friday, July 30th from 6-9pm at PLAYGROUND DETROIT, 2845 Gratiot Avenue; reservations will not be required to attend.
The intention behind his exhibition is to bring forth a reminder that the fight is ongoing, despite many discussions about it as if it took place centuries ago. The moment we currently find ourselves in, speaks to that very sentiment. When referencing the protest signs and attire from the Civil Rights Movement, he recognized the uniformity in design that reflected the strong-held belief in the Black community that a unified voice was necessary in bringing forth the message of the people during that time. In RELEVANT, Makinde uses screen-printing to highlight the importance of unity, making a variety of statements that come together as one voice.
“My upbringing is precisely why I approach art the way I do. I was raised in the Chicagoland suburbs and in my younger years attended predominantly white schools. This is something that shapes my work today, due to the fact that it was such a stark difference from the life I led at home with my immigrant parents from Nigeria. By going to schools with this sort of racial makeup, I didn’t learn a great deal of Black history, if at all.
This is why the mission statement of my art practice is to educate by sharing the information that I learn on my personal journey of Black consciousness. My work today tends to challenge viewers to question the systems they find themselves in, which will hopefully cause them to have much needed conversations with those closest to them regarding social justice issues.” explains Adeshola Makinde.”
“I’m drawn to highlighting Black life in my work because I feel as though it’s something that is often neglected. The social justice themes found throughout my work is my way of advocating for those without a voice.”
In addition to the gallery exhibition, Makinde will install wheatpasted public artwork throughout the city of Detroit as a continuation of his the RELEVANT public artwork billboard series. In 2019, “WE DEMAND AN END TO POLICE BRUTALITY NOW!” was selected to be exhibited in the group exhibition, “Signs of the Time,” presented by PLAYGROUND DETROIT and SaveArtSpace, featuring various artwork on billboards throughout Detroit, Michigan. In 2020, he created over 25 additional billboards which were installed throughout various cities.
The public exhibition opening reception is on Friday, July 30th from 6-9pm at PLAYGROUND DETROIT, located at 2845 Gratiot Avenue, Detroit, Michigan and will be on view by appointment with viewing hours through August 28th from 12-5PM Thursday-Saturday.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Adeshola Makinde (b. 1990) is a Nigerian-American multidisciplinary artist based in Chicago,
Illinois. Makinde’s work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions, publications (The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Poetry Foundation), brand collaborations (w/ Topps, Nike, Infinite Archives, Notre, Soho House), and a capsule collection at famed American retailer Nordstrom. In 2020, Makinde in collaboration with SaveArtSpace crowd funded (via Go Fund Me) twenty-two thousand dollars, which allowed for him to install 29 billboards showcasing repurposed protest signs in 22 cities throughout the United States.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Juana Williams is an independent visual arts curator and writer from Detroit, Michigan. Her curatorial practice predominantly focuses on deconstructing cultural and social issues, and attempts to provide a dialogue within which these issues can be discussed. Williams is passionate about engaging communities, elevating diverse voices, and giving a platform to artists for innovative expression. She also persistently advocates for supporting artists and preserving art-centered spaces.
Williams is the 2021 Art Mile Inaugural Curatorial Fellow. She recently joined Library Street Collective as the Director of Exhibitions and previously served as the Exhibitions Curator at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Prior to joining UICA, Williams held multiple positions at various art institutions including the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, the Wayne State University Art Department Gallery, the Elaine L. Jacob Gallery, and the Detroit Institute of Arts.
She has curated exhibitions at several galleries and museums featuring a roster of artists at various stages of their careers including Wangechi Mutu, Firelei Báez, Devan Shimoyama, Mavis Pusey, and Elizabeth Catlett, to name a few. She has recently guest-curated at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, the Detroit Artists Market, and the Grand Rapids Art Museum. She has presented lectures at numerous venues such as Kendall College of Art and Design, Carnegie Mellon University, and Central Michigan University. She has also contributed to multiple exhibition catalogues, including Up From the Red Clay through M Contemporary Gallery, Before Words through Kavi Gupta Gallery, and the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh 107th Annual Exhibition through the Westmoreland Museum of American Art. Her work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Wege Foundation, and the Frye Foundation.
She holds a BA in Art and an MA in Art History, both from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.