Detroit Photographer Bre’Ann White to Present Exhibit Honoring Her Late Mother

‘Pray For Us’ explores the power of prayer and community and features the work of five local, national, and international artists
A Glimpse into the Future
“A Glimpse into the Future” by Jade Lilly is among the pieces that will be on display in Pray For Us. // Photograph courtesy of Bre’Ann White

Detroit-based photographer and creative director Bre’Ann White has curated a new exhibit that both explores the power of prayer, motherhood, and community and honors the bond between her and her late mother.

Pray For Us will be on display at Norwest Gallery of Art, located at 19556 Grand River Ave. in Detroit, from July 23-Aug. 23. Five artists from around the country and world will present their film, photography, and collage work. The exhibit is part of the Womxnhouse Detroit Exhibition & Artists Residency (which White is a 2022 resident of) and made possible by The Knight Foundation

According to its mission statement, the exhibit “explores prayer as an ancestral technology connecting this world and the next, bringing peace, comfort, and solace to those seeking heavenly guidance.” Themes explored include the Virgin Mary and the role of motherhood in the Christian faith. A press release says the show aims to illustrate the role of motherly figures of all genders in shaping spiritual practices; strengthening communities through love, care, and enlightenment; and reconnecting to the divine.

bre'ann white
Bre’Ann White photograph courtesy of Bre’Ann White

Ghanaian-American filmmaker and writer Kuukua Eshun; Miami-based photographer Jade Lily; St. Kitts-born, Brooklyn-based photographer Wayne Lawrence; Detroit-based collage artist and documentary photographer Rachel Thomas; and Baltimore-based photographer Faith Couch will all present their work. White has known each of the featured artists for more than three years, connecting with them through various projects.

Pray for Us pays tribute to White’s late mother, Edna White, who passed away in April from cancer. White says her mother was always a source of inspiration for her art practice and credits Edna for her own work ethic. “‘Pray For Us’ honors Edna by recreating a very intimate and happy space of hers: her living room,” White says. “Edna loved to sit comfortably on her couch, smoking a cigarette and drinking her coffee while watching TV. Not only was this a place of peace for Edna, it was a home base for all of my friends — met through my work or otherwise — to come and show love to my mom. Any and everyone connected to me would make it a point to stop by Edna’s to sit in that space and converse about all aspects of life.”

An opening event for the exhibit will take place at Norwest Gallery from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on July 23. An artist talk at the gallery is scheduled the following day from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Danielle Eliska Lyle — a Detroit-based writer, film director, photographer and Womxnhouse Detroit resident — will moderate a conversation with the featured artists. There will also be a viewing of Eshun’s latest film, Born of the Earth, which explores the reconnection of women of African descent with the earth, followed by a Q&A.

Click here to register for the exhibit’s opening event and to give donations, and here for more information on Norwest Gallery.