JUDY BOWMAN: GRATIOT GRIOT

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MOCAD proudly announces Gratiot Griot, the first solo museum exhibition of mixed media artist Judy Bowman. Born and raised in Detroit’s legendary Black Bottom neighborhood, just off of the iconic Gratiot Avenue, Bowman creates visual works inspired by stories of African American life. In West African tradition, a griot is a storyteller who, through creative performance, preserves and shares the cultural legacy and histories of their people. Gratiot Griot highlights Bowman’s extensive career as a storyteller. Gratiot Griot will highlight the intimate landscape of neighborhoods, homes, and gathering places that encouraged Bowman’s development as a griot. From kindergarten teacher to working artist, Bowman’s practice is rooted in engaging people through stories to reveal underrecognized histories. This exhibition will present new works by Bowman that invite viewers to engage with the rich cultural tapestry of life across the African diaspora.

EXHIBITIONS


JUDY BOWMAN:
GRATIOT GRIOT

OCTOBER 29, 2022 – MARCH 25, 2023


MOCAD proudly announces Gratiot Griot, the first solo museum exhibition of mixed media artist Judy Bowman. Born and raised in Detroit’s legendary Black Bottom neighborhood, just off of the iconic Gratiot Avenue, Bowman creates visual works inspired by stories of African American life. In West African tradition, a griot is a storyteller who, through creative performance, preserves and shares the cultural legacy and histories of their people. Gratiot Griot highlights Bowman’s extensive career as a storyteller. Gratiot Griot will highlight the intimate landscape of neighborhoods, homes, and gathering places that encouraged Bowman’s development as a griot. From kindergarten teacher to working artist, Bowman’s practice is rooted in engaging people through stories to reveal under-recognized histories. This exhibition will present new works by Bowman that invite viewers to engage with the rich cultural tapestry of life across the African diaspora.


ARTIST BIO


Judy Bowman is a mixed-media collage artist born and raised in Detroit, MI. After Bowman retired as principal of the Detroit Academy of Arts and Science, she rebooted her career as an artist. Her art practice centers on exalting America’s Black culture. Bowman’s use of vibrant hues, textured paper, and acrylic paint illuminates’ narratives that move beyond the disparaged perspectives rooted in institutional racism.

Bowman’s work appears in private and public collections–nationally and internationally–including the permanent collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Historical Museum, Georgetown University Library, and the Flint Institute of Arts, among others. Bowman was one of the national grand prize winners of the 2018 Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series held at Scope Miami, Art Basel. She is a 2021 Kresge Fellow for Visual Arts and a 2022 local Alain Locke Recognition Awardee.

Gratiot Griot is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. This exhibition is supported by the Ford Foundation and Karen and Drew Bacon.


Image: Judy Bowman, Mom On Seneca, 2020. Mixed media collage on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.

PRESS + MEDIA


READ: Gratiot Griot in WDET, November 1, 2022

READ: Gratiot Griot in Widewalls, November 2, 2022