2 Black History Month art exhibits at the Wright represent freedom

In honor of Black History Month, the Charles H. Wright Museum is celebrating with two new exhibits honoring freedom and the artist behind these two exhibits are in Detroit to share.

Artist John Dowell had a flashback to his past.

"I started dreaming about my grandmother,"  he said.

‘Big Mommy’ as she was called. Her cherished spirit sent Dowell on a mission to a cotton field in North Carolina.

"I just cried all day long, I couldn’t do any work," he said. "Mama took me home I really had the feeling that some of my people had worked that property that’s why I was there."

And while there Dowell would eventually become so inspired that he created this exhibit - "Paths to Freedom" which is on display for Black History Month at The Wright.

One piece, "Night Before the Run" features Dowell singing

"It’s about me thinking what would I have dreamed the night before I was attempting to run away," he said.

Just a few feet away from Paths to Freedom is another exhibit to honor Black History Month.

"This is the first museum show of visual artist and photographer Adreinne Waheed," said Kelli Morgan Sr. Curator at the Wright. "It’s called the 'Audacity to Thrive' and it focuses on what Black joy, resistance, happiness, and love looks like for us everyday."

And these two exhibits focusing on African Americans, in present-day society, and the other, focusing on the history of African Americans in this country, share a central theme.

"Freedom is really grounded in both of their works," said Morgan.

On Saturday visitors will have an opportunity to hear from both Dowell and Waheed

"It’s open to the public, it’s free, and it starts at 5 p.m.," Morgan said. "It will be an intimate conversation with myself and the two of them."

And on Sunday there’s also an opportunity to take in these exhibits and more.

"On Super Bowl Sunday actually free to the public, so people can come in and access all of our exhibitions," Morgan said.

Dowell believes these exhibits are a perfect way to keep the legacy of Black history alive.

"I want to make sure the children coming up know their wonderful history," he said.

For more information go to thewright.org

Artist John Dowell Jr.

Artist John Dowell Jr.