What does it mean to be black in America?
As much as we talk about race and racism, inequality and the struggle for justice, that fundamental question is often beyond the understanding of many Americans.
If you’re not black, frankly, it’s understandably hard to know. And it’s difficult to talk about under a lot of circumstances. It’s a topic that’s wrough with all kinds of painful historical significance that still holds through to today.
Slavery, Jim Crow, police brutality, institutional racism - these are things that African Americans live with every day in this country.
And yet - for the majority of Americans, those struggles are always somewhat distant, and hard to grasp.
Artist Mario Moore, a native of Detroit, has a new exhibit of paintings and drawings called Recovery, and it’s at the David Klein Gallery in Downtown Detroit. It portrays that everyday life of African Americans and asks a poignant question: Given all the issues that black people face in America, is it ever possible for black men, in particular, to rest? To just be themselves without worry?
Moore joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about his exhibit, and the issues it is attempting to highlight for its viewers.
“We think about the idea of black men working, working, working,” says Moore. “And that’s been our history, that’s been our understanding that, in order to move forward we have to work, work, work, work, work extra, extra hard.”
“There’s this stereotype of black men, if you think or consider somebody resting or relaxing — they’re lazy,” he continues. “It’s a question that I’m asking, I’m asking black men also, how do you rest? What does that look like for you?”
Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.
Below are a number of Moore’s paintings and drawings.