‘Move The World’ Art Exhibit Celebrates The Lives of Black Women

Check out work by both local and visiting artists at Detroit’s Irwin House Gallery
“Paroxysm,” acryclic, copper leaf on canvas, 36 x 72 inches (diptych), by Dawn Okoro. // Photograph courtesy of Irwin House Gallery

Irwin House Global Art Center & Gallery is celebrating the lives of everyday Black women with its latest exhibit, Move The World. The exhibit — which debuted in mid-February and runs through the end of March in honor of Black History and Women’s History Months — features work by both local and visiting artists.

Inspired by recent political events and the heroism of Black women, the nonprofit gallery, located at 2351 W. Grand Blvd. in Detroit, aims to uplift the “ordinary sisters and queens” with its new exhibit.

“You saw it. We all saw it,” reads an excerpt from the Move The World exhibition statement. “Black women summoned all their superpower forces to deliver democracy in Georgia and for all the U.S. This is just one critical example of how ordinary sisters and queens show up for each other, and for everyone in their cyphers.” The excerpt goes on to say how Black women who played monumental roles in the Georgia runoff — like politician Stacey Abrams, The New Georgia Project CEO Nsé Ufot, and Black Votes Matter co-founder Latosha Brown — remind others of the “poise, power, and determination that lies within us all.”

“Sweet Bitter Tangerine Mambo,” mixed-media, fiber art installation, by Laura Gadson. // Photograph courtesy of Irwin House Gallery

Move The World showcases work that touches on these themes. On display are pieces by creatives such as Ricky Weaver, an image-based artist from Ypsilanti; Dawn Okoro, a Nigerian-American artist from Texas who is known for her figure paintings; and Laura Gadson, a mixed-media artist who lives in New York City. A painting by the late dancer Geoffrey Holder is also in the exhibit, and Detroiter Brittni Ward, who created an acrylic painting for the show, serves as a poet laureate for Move The World.

To coincide with the exhibit and its message, Irwin House Gallery is running an interactive message wall in collaboration with Yasmine Lancaster of the Instagram page @youwannatellher, which highlights profiles of Black women. The gallery has also worked with art historian and collector Carl McCaskill to curate a 14-hour soundtrack for the exhibit.

Irwin House Gallery’s general hours of operation are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday-Sunday. Visitors can also check out the space by appointment from Tuesday through Thursday. Due to the pandemic, only six guests are allowed in the gallery at a time. Masks must be worn at all times, and a temperature check and sanitizing station are located at the door.

For more information, visit irwinhousegallery.org.