The Wright Museum


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ibn photo2This third season of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History's Liberation Film Series (LFS) begins Saturday, September 13, 2014, with the world premiere of the LFS-produced documentary, "Raz Baaba Aaron Ibn Pori Pitts: Portraits of a Revolutionary Artist," featuring Allie McGhee, M. Saffell Gardner, Dr. Nubia Kai, Dr. Bill Harris, Gilda Snowden, Marian Kramer, Dr. Aneb Kgositsile (Gloria House), Herb Boyd, and Nehimiah Pitts. This event is free and open to the public.

The Liberation Film Series, with grassroots, Michigan Humanites Council and The Wright Museum support has produced a documentary of the significant life and the extensive multi-faceted body of works created by Raz Baaba Aaron Ibn Pori Pitts. This is a powerful story directed by Charles Ezra Ferrell, written by Dr. Nubia Kai, videoedtaped and edited by Michael J. Hudson, and narrated by Dwight “Skip” Stackhouse. Featured speakers includes the late General Gordon Baker, Jr. ,Dr. Melba Joyce Boyd, Piper Carter, Saffell Gardner, Dr. Bill Harris, Marian Kramer, Allie McGhee, Owusu Millard, Dr. Gloria Pitts, Shirley Woodson Reid, Ivy Thomas Riley and the late Gilda Snowden.

The soundtrack is amazing with music by Aaron Ibn Pori James Carter, Ras Kente, Kenny Green, Earle Davis, Chinelo Amen-Ra and others. 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 MetroTimes 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.

Recommended Reading and Viewing

Romare Bearden

Razor: Revolutionary Art for Cultural Revolution

Jacob Lawrence, American Painter

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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.

This third season of the Liberation Film Series (LFS) is focused on Human Rights: Self-Respect, Self-Defense and Self-Determination. Each year this acclaimed, nationally supported and hard-hitting series promotes literacy, independent thought, critical analysis and informed activism. LFS thrives to engage the youth, families, the grassroots community, and scholar-activists in educational films and “community conversations” of contemporary relevance that focus on creating learning opportunities, increased clarity, and new solutions to current and emerging sociopolitical challenges.

On April 12, 1964, just over fifty years ago, Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik El Shabazz) stated: “We are fighting for recognition as human beings. We are fighting for the right to live as free humans in this society. In fact, we are actually fighting for rights that are even greater than civil rights and that is human rights.” It is in this spirit that the Liberation Film Series is offered for your full participation and edification. Spread the word.

The Liberation Film Series is supported by the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and the Black/African Studies Departments of Michigan State University, University of Michigan - Dearborn, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, Wayne State University, Eastern Michigan University, Wayne County Community College District, Oakland University, University of Massachusetts – Amherst, National Council of Black Studies, Dr. Errol Henderson (Pennsylvania State University), Media Education Foundation, The Walter P. Reuther Library – Wayne State University, Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association Wayne State University Press, Michigan Humanities Council community activists, and individual contributors. Charles Ezra Ferrell, a consultant to The Wright Museum, is the LFS Founder and Program Director.

All films and discussions are free and open to the public, and take place in the Museum's General Motors Theater.
Click here to read Statements of Endorsement given to the Liberation Film Series.
Click here to view a retrospective of the premiere LFS 2012-2013 season.
Click here for information on HIP: The Honoring Ibn Project.

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
315 East Warren Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48201
The Wright Museum™