This post was originally published on Michigan Chronicle
By Nicole Black
In the late 80s and early 90s, there were many art galleries in and around metro Detroit and several art galleries flourished in Oakland County. Black art was in very high demand and black artists were being featured in popular sitcoms, like The Cosby show, Living Single, and The Different World. Needless to mention, black art was selling fast, and the black culture was booming. Fast forward 30 years and only few art galleries remain and only one black owned art gallery stands in Oakland County and that is Umoja Fine Arts Gallery in Southfield, MI.
Umoja Fine Arts focuses on positive black images through artistic expression will be premiering a new art exhibition on April 22nd and 23rd and running through June 22nd called Blooming in Color- a homage to Black Excellence and recently confirmed Supreme Court Justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson. The premiere is open to the public, but registration is encouraged at bloomingincolor.com/. Umoja strives to provide a luxurious transformation for everyone’s home.
Exhibition Details: Friday, April 22nd 5pm to 9 pm and Saturday, April 23rd 1pm to 6pm. Running through June 22nd. Location: Umoja Fine Arts, located in the Crossroads Building, 16250 Northland Dr STE 102, Southfield, MI 48075.
Rosemary Summers, a figurative surrealist artist leads The Blooming in Color Art Exhibition for Umoja Fine Arts. Rosemary Summers is a storyteller through artistic expression and her goal is to always stimulate the viewers imagination and bridge a connection through something in common. Her latest artistic expression is “When Liberty Calls- Ketanji” a vibrant colorful figurative surreal painting that isn’t your typical biographical painting of a historical figure. Figurative surrealism artistry takes the viewers eyes through a journey as they move through the canvas. When Liberty Calls takes us through centuries of historical facts that led us to this monumental moment in history.
“Black art is a unique way to “safely” address historical, political, commercial, and religious issues without feeling intimidated by the world,” said Rosemary Summers. “It gives the public an opportunity to think about African Americans in other way besides the common stereotypes. It also gives people an opportunity to explore their artistic yearnings.”
As you study this painting consider the symbolism of its visual imagery in every aspect of it. Let’s start with Liberty herself. She stands stately and sure for “liberty” is an inalienable right. The American ethos is built on a belief of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all humans.
Look at the crowd of people moving toward Liberty. They are standing behind the people that are bringing their cases before the Supreme Court. Looking up through a tunnel they can see the glow of the sun which is a hopeful sign that their rights would be vindicated. Look to the far right of the painting, you see two women working in the cotton fields. Symbolizing an economic commodity in the form of a graph, using human beings to build an economy they did not have the liberty to benefit from. Look at the Peacock on the upper left and the man standing in front of it peering into Liberties’ eyes. The peacock is symbolic of re-growth and rejuvenation, royalty, respect, honor, and integrity. They are also a symbol of beauty, love, and passion. In conclusion Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is like a Peacock, symbolic of regrowth, rejuvenation, royalty, respect, honor, and integrity. Her crown is her inward desire to help all people feel the benefits of their inalienable Rights.
The Blooming in Color exhibition has been carefully curated to display artistry and colorful minds of other premium artists like Marcel Stewart and Joshua Rainer. Both Stewart and Rainer bring a youthful, vibrant, and exciting approach to the exhibit. Their craftsmanship and attention to detail has caught the eyes of many collectors throughout the region. With Stewart exploring a new technique that has been wildly accepted by his collectors and Rainer’s use of charcoal on paper that meticulously catches every detail of his subjects, Blooming in Color is a showcase of true African American Art and excellence.
More on Umoja Fine Arts
With nearly 30 years in the art business, Umoja Fine Arts has withstood decades of an ever-evolving industry and remains one of the largest publisher and distributors of African American art in the country. Umoja means “unity” and cultural awareness is a big part of self-esteem. The gallery remains focused on selling original works of art and affordable prints to the community.
Ian Grant, CEO/Curator of Umoja Fine Arts gained expertise of the art industry in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the 80s. He became acquainted with publishing procedures, the medium of art, and identification of the functions of distribution and how to relate the functions to the public. After a lengthy career as a sales and marketing executive for over 25 years for a fortune 500 company, this year, Ian decided to pursue his passion on a full-time basis.
Umoja offers a unique experience and expertise with original paintings, bronze sculptures, serigraphs, archival pigment print – 100% cotton rag paper, lithographs, and sculptures. Art images range in price from $45 to $1,500 and originals may range in price from $1,000 -$75,000.
Art should be seen as an investment. Art investment is the focus of Umoja’s new hard copy and digital book that is currently available on umojafinearts.com. “A Guide to Collecting African American Art” – Is an 18-page educational book that teaches the vital elements of collecting African American Art. It shares the secrets & reasons to collecting art and understanding how to best preserve your art collection while creating generational wealth.
The Umoja Fine Arts Showroom gallery is in the Crossroads Building at 16250 Northland Drive – Suite 102, Southfield, Michigan. The hours are Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and 1pm – 6pm or by appointment. umojafinearts.com, 248.773.9008.