Southfield Public Arts Commission presents From These Hands art exhibition and public reception featuring six artists November 9
Exhibition will be on display in City Hall November 3 until January 30
Mayor Kenson Siver and the Southfield Public Arts Commission will host From These Hands opening reception and public art exhibition on Thursday, November 9 from 6-8 p.m. featuring six Michigan-based artists at the Southfield City Hall Main Lobby, 26000 Evergreen Road. All six artists are Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club members and have had their artwork previously showcased.
The exhibition of work will be on display November 3 until January 30 featuring the works of Habacuc Bessiake, Judy Bowman, Jonathan Harris, Carole Morisseau, Carol Cook Reid, and Reggie Singleton. The exhibit and opening reception is free and open to the public. The reception will feature music by Tony Delgado.
The Southfield Public Arts Commission curates new exhibits of local artists' work quarterly. “Mayor Ken Siver and the Southfield Public Arts Commission are committed to showcasing art and supporting local artists to promote diversity and inclusion in the community,” commented Southfield Public Arts Commission Chairperson Delores Flagg. “Together, we are a stronger community that fosters a sense of belonging for businesses, residents and visitors.”
“We decided on the title From These Hands for this series of artwork,” commented artist Habacuc Bessiake. “We thought it would be a fitting as none of this artwork would be possible without the gift of these hands!”
The reception is sponsored by Michigan Educational Credit Union and D’Bo’s Daiquiris.
Habacuc S. Bessiake is a mixed-media artist and muralist working in Detroit whose work experiments with Afro-surreal visual narratives. He is the son of two parents who immigrated from Côté d'Ivoire in 1993. Growing up, his family bounced around the Midwest, and eventually, he returned to Detroit in 2014. He graduated in 2021 with a BFA from the College for Creative Studies. His first solo exhibition debuted at Harper Galleries of Art - Detroit in 2021. Since then, he has exhibited his work in the Detroit Historical Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), M Contemporary in Ferndale, Michigan, Gallery Nucleus in Portland, Oregon, and with Deviate Fashion in their “Detroit to New York Showcase,” which was featured in The New York Times February 2022.
Bessiake loves to create worlds to escape into. Visual narratives pulled from the realms of reality and imagination. At its core, his work depicts empowering life lessons, reflecting the guidance he and others have received from navigating through life’s dark jungles. His work pulls from traces of his West African heritage through research and conversations with family, as he has yet to visit Africa. Finding cultural artifacts like African proverbs as a jumping point for narrative works, visually discussing the life lessons found in them. His mural work aims to bring life to walls across all communities with imaginative imagery holding hidden encouraging messages for viewers.
In Bessiake's practice, you will find lively rhythmic mark-making using acrylics, oils, chalk pastel, ink, and more. The mix of worlds comes together to form his body of work.
Judy Bowman is a mixed-media collage artist who was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Her art practice centers on exalting America’s Black culture that move beyond institutional racism and disparaged perspectives of the Black experience. Considering herself a visual griot, she pays tribute to personal memories from her coming-of-age in Detroit’s Eastside and Black Bottom neighborhoods.
Bowman’s work appears in the permanent Institutional Collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Historical Museum, Mack Alive, Detroit, MI, the R.W. Norton Art Gallery, Shreveport, LA, the Flint Institute of Arts, the Federal Reserve Board and Art Bank, Washington, DC. public installation in the Sugar Hill District for Detroit development and sidewalk Detroit, Black Art in América Gallery, Atlanta Georgia, Library Street Collective Kiosk and Book Tower installation.
Bowman held her first solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit 2022. She is a 2021 Kresge Fellow for visual Arts and a 2022 Alain Locke Recognition Awardee. Bowman’s work has also been exhibited at Art Basel, The Armory Show, Expo Chicago, and the Intuit Museum. Her work is represented by Eric Firestone Gallery in New York.
Art has given Bowman the space and freedom to reframe narratives about African American people and culture. Her art is not an imagined existence, it is one rooted in scenes that have nurtured her upbringing in Detroit’s Eastside community and Black Bottom neighborhood. Her art tells stories of the narratives of her family, friends, and the everyday people in the community and how they loved each other. It is founded on the vision to uplift humanity and leave a legacy that highlights the beauty and dignity of Black people.
Working primarily in figurative collage, Bowman’s technique style is intuitive. After finding the right papers, colors, and textures to create moments in time that give off a feel-good elixir reminiscent of Black Bottom and the Harlem Renaissance era, she begins with the eyes and allow her subconscious to connect with a rhythm and freely let the story play out on the canvas. She has been working in this style over the last five years.
Bowman is often told her collage work recalls the style of Romare Bearden’s photomontage compositions. She sees her collages in the traditions of Kerry James Marshall and his use of black skin tones and a focus on details and emotion in her work. She is also inspired by the aesthetic and talents of Charles White, Gordon Parks, Elizabeth Catlett, and Benny Andrews. Like their works, her collages serve as archives of Black life and resilience; style and pride; music and spirituality. Her work is created to tell the story of how she sees her people, how they lived and the power of their being.
Jonathan Harris is a visual artist who was born and raised in the city of Detroit. After attending the Detroit School for the Fine and Performing Arts, he attended Henry Ford Community College, and Oakland University, where he majored in Graphic Design and minored in Studio Art. Oil paints, acrylics and charcoal are his media of choice. He has perfected and become known for an oil enamel technique, resulting in graphic, high contrast portraits, without the use of a brush.
Jonathan's work is emotive, with a focus on current events and the African American experience. Bringing awareness to social and world issues, in addition to instilling pride in the Black community, are goals that he strives to accomplish through his visual and curatorial work. Harris and his works have recently been featured extensively in the press, including on PBS American Black Journal, PBS One Detroit, CBS Local, and in the Detroit Free Press, Michigan Chronicle and Oakland University Post. One of the artist’s latest paintings, Critical Race Theory, created in response to recent controversy over the same subject matter, has garnered responses and sparked conversations across social media platforms around the world.
Harris’ art currently resides in prominent collections, including the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Arts, David and Linda Whitaker, and Michigan State Representative Shri Thanedar. He served as a juror for Canvas Pontiac 2022, and his work has been exhibited at Swords to Plowshares Gallery. He has shown in and curated special exhibitions at Irwin House Gallery, as well as the BONDED exhibit at Beacon Park, along with a team of distinguished Detroit arts professionals.
In 2022 Jonathan Harris was named one of 2022’s influential Artists to watch by the Detroit News and received The Spirit of Detroit Award from the City Council of Detroit, Michigan.
Carole Morisseau states that her investigation has always considered the movement of the observer’s eye in the development of composition. Morisseau’s charge is to organize space on a two-dimensional surface in a meaningful manner that forms a visual rhythm. This challenge remains constant whether working figuratively or abstractly with few points of departure.
Morisseau is a former art teacher at Cass Technical High School. She has exhibited her work in galleries all over metro Detroit, with her most recent exhibitions being at the Pontiac Creative Arts Center and the Congressional Black Caucus. Morisseau won the “Best in show award at the Detroit Artists Market, All Media Show, in 2020 and in 2022 she won the “Outstanding African American Artist” award for Arab American Artists.
Reggie Singleton was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He majored in Fine Arts at Wayne State University. His art practice includes Wood Sculpture as well as Ink Paintings. Singleton’s work expresses the beauty of his Heritage; Past, Present and Future. His work is a vehicle for the ancestors to tell stories of pride, loss, bondage and freedom. Each work is approached as time capsules in abstract obscurity, seeking truth through beauty. His Wood Sculptures have been shown in many galleries across Michigan and Chicago. In 2021, they earned Singleton an Award in the Scarab Club’s 108th Gold Medal Exhibition. Six of his Wood Sculptures have been permanently installed in WSU’s Bio-Engineering Building. Through his Art, Singleton continues to push the boundaries of form, color, composition and narrative.
Carol Cook Reid
Reid is comforted and inspired by observations and memories of natural forms of flora, sky, and land, and their relationships. Her paintings express visual fusions of these physical elements from natural landscapes and the emotional elements of her internal landscape.
Reid approaches a blank canvas like an empty stage, ready to receive dancers, actors, and props. Like a choreographer, she arranges elements of shape, line, and color. Sharing one space, all parts are interdependent. A patch of sky is defined by the contours of surrounding land and flora, while the flora shapes the land it intersects. Reid strives to express the relationships and balance between these elements.
Reid’s aesthetics have been influenced by 20th Century modern landscape painters including Georgia O Keefe, Arthur Dove, Emily Carr, Milton Avery, Charles Burchfield, Lawren Harris, and the Canadian Group of Seven. She has been painting since she was very young. Reid has been painting murals since she was seven. She earned a bachelor’s degree in art education from Michigan State University, and a master’s degree in painting from Wayne State University when she was 70. Her work has been awarded and exhibited in galleries throughout Michigan.
Reid is a member of the Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club and the Detroit Society of Women Painters and Sculptors.