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FAAAA 25th Annual Alain Locke Awards

Sunday, February 12, 2017 |2:00 PM

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2017; 2 p.m.
Honoring Michael D. Harris and Mahogany Jones.
The Detroit Institute of Arts’ auxiliary group Friends of African and African American Art will honor artist and scholar Michael D. Harris at its 25th annual Alain Locke Award in the international category and recording and performance artist, educator and activist Mahogany Jones in the local category. The event is Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017 at 2 p.m. in the DIA Lecture Hall and is free with museum admission. A reception will follow in the FJC Dining Rooms.
Harris is an artist, professor, scholar and curator living in Atlanta. As a scholar, he has published Colored Pictures: Race and Visual Representation (2003), and has contributed to or co-authored a number of publications. He has had articles on contemporary African art and African American art published in a number of books and journals.

As an artist, Harris has been a member of the artist collective, AfriCOBRA since 1979, and has shown his work all over the United States, the Caribbean, and Europe. His work is in the collections of Morehouse College, Howard University, the University of North Carolina, the City of Atlanta, the Hampton University Museum, Dillard University, the David Driskell Center at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Paul Jones Collection at the University of Alabama, the Atlanta airport and in many private collections.

As part of the Alain Locke Award program, Harris will give a talk on artist Alison Saar, who uses cultural relics in her work to elicit strategies for healing and transformation useful to black women. Harris will connect Saar’s work to larger issues of cultural expression potentially disconnected from racial categorization and rooted in culture and experience.

Jones is a recording and performance artist, educator and activist who uses music to uplift the spirit, body and soul and to educate people. She has released three albums and performed with Gil Scott Heron, India Arie and The Roots, among others. As a Hip-Hop activist, Jones launched A PURE Movement to empower women and girls and confront violence against women.

Jones is a facilitator for Detroit’s Inside Out Literary Arts Project, an adjunct instructor at the Detroit Institute of Music and a lead facilitator for Yunion, a nonprofit that counters negative cultural influences that misdirect the lives of youth, and is a member of the Foundation, a Detroit women in Hip-Hop collective. She is also a 2016 Kresge Arts Fellow.
Blood/Sweat/Tears, 2005, Alison Saar, wood, copper, bronze, paint and tar. Museum purchase, W. Hawkins Ferry Fund. 
The Alain Locke Award
The Friends of African and African American Art established the Alain Locke Award in 1992 to honor those individuals who are dedicated to the promotion and understanding of African American culture. The recipients of the award must have exhibited exemplary courage, commitment, and leadership in promoting the legacy of Dr. Alain Locke. The first awards were presented in December 1993 at the Friends of African and African American Art Annual Meeting dinner held at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Alain Leroy Locke, Ph.D. (1886-1954)

A philosopher, scholar, and writer, Dr. Alain Leroy Locke is widely recognized for his leadership in the New Negro Movement and the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. He received a B.A. in philosophy from Harvard University in 1907 and was the first black Rhodes scholar, studying at Oxford University and the University of Berlin. In 1912, he began a 40-year career at Howard University, breaking his tenure only briefly to earn a doctoral degree in philosophy from Harvard in 1918.

As the primary theoretician for the Harlem Renaissance, Dr. Locke encouraged African American artists, writers, and musicians to explore their African roots through their work. He was especially interested in the visual arts, having observed the influence of sub-Saharan African art on the European modernists. Dr. Locke guided African American artists in their exploration of modernism, an approach that yielded many of the notable contributions by African American artists to twenty and twenty-first-century art. 

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