Join us for the opening reception of "Raz Baaba Aaron Ibn Pori Pitts: Portraits of a Revolutionary Artist" the newest exhibition in the Contemporary Artists Gallery. Featured will be Band Unit #10, comprised of Ras Kente, Tony Holland, Kenny Green, Kamal Amen-Ra, and Mark Lemon.
Light refreshments will be provided. This event is free and open to the public.
It is important and necessary to document the significant life and the extensive multi-faceted body of works created by Raz Baaba Aaron Ibn Pori Pitts. Ibn Pori, born September 17, 1941 in Detroit, is one of America’s greatest revolutionary artist-activists. He was at the forefront of the Black Cultural Arts and Black Labor Movement in the 1960s. He worked for the U.S. Post Office and was a member and plant leader of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers. Ibn was a founding member, former President, and Membership Chair of the Michigan chapter of the National Conference of Artists (NCA). He was Artist-in-Residence for the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and voted Metro Times Artist of the Year. He was a publisher of Black Graphics International, and a founding member of PitchBlack Poetry (now PitchBlack Arts Institute). Ibn's world-class art installations are inspired by Ogun, the Yoruba deity who presides over iron, war, hunting, and politics. The Ogun inspiration undergirds many of Ibn's works, especially the exhibits in which the automobile functions as an art object, transformed by the power of music, poetry and revolutionary commentary.
Ibn’s art is unique and immediately recognizable. He uses a collage style filled African symbols, the bold movement of colors, Black revolutionaries, jazz musicians, singers, Detroit historical locations, and motifs of family, especially his beloved mother, Zenolia. Ibn was also an international videographer. He videoed the Pan African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) and videoed President Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso and Assata Shakur, exiled in Cuba. As a recorded scripted and improvisational poet, Ibn toured the Midwest in 2005, as a Special Guest of the Henry Grimes Trio. As M. Saffell Gardner, his longtime art collaborator stated, “Ibn is much more than these titles. He cared for many people and families, providing them food and resources and finally, he is deeply spiritual.” On April 12, 2008, Ibn suffered a massive stroke while delivering a eulogy for Donald Walden, a Detroit jazz saxophone master. Fortunately, he is now recovering steadily. In fact, world class artist Allie McGhee is amazed that Ibn is now creating colorful and dynamic paintings with his left hand.
Raz Baaba Aaron Ibn Pori Pitts: Portraits of a Revolutionary Artist is funded in part by the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.