Award-winning painter and muralist Ijania Cortez is a self-taught artist working in Detroit.
Cortez often depicts young Black men in her work, and the murals that she paints are individuals within the neighborhoods they live in. Her work further advances the showcase of Black bodies in the arts.
“I decided to primarily paint Black men because I felt like they were misunderstood. And I really started my practice kind of on the rise of [the] Black Lives Matter movement, and all these things that were happening,” Cortez tells WDET. “So I wanted the art to create a bridge for people to start conversations with people who looked different from them, and to stop sort of prejudging people.”
Cortez spoke with WDET’s Zaire Daniels about her career, why she has chosen young Black men as a focal point for her art and her love for community.
Listen to the interview using the media player above.