On their own, Rashaun Rucker’s large-scale drawings are intricately crafted works of art that stand out for their medium as much as their message.
His first solo exhibition of work in five years, “American Ornithology” opens on Friday at M Contemporary Art gallery in Ferndale and explores the connections between a marginalized people and a marginalized animal. Before the show even opened, most of the work had already sold to eager collectors.
Through Rucker’s research, he found strong connections between oft-touted stereotypes of African-American males in America and the common rock pigeon — starting with the way they both arrived in this country in the 1600’s.
“You think about pigeon coops are stacked. You think about how black people were stacked on slave ships.” - Rashaun Rucker, artist
“Pigeons are not from America. It’s this weird narrative of how the pigeons were brought here, how the slaves were brought here,” says Rucker.
“You think about pigeon coops are stacked. You think about how black people were stacked on slave ships,” adds Rucker. ”And then you think about how both were brought here in servitude. [Pigeons] were brought here to be trained to work similar to us.”
Click the player above to hear the full conversation with artist Rashaun Rucker about his new show “American Ornithology.”
“American Ornithology,” Rashaun Rucker
M Contemporary Gallery, 205 E. 9 Mile, Ferndale, MI 48220
Exhibition: October 25 - November 16, 2019
Reception: October 25, 6 - 9 PM
Artist Talk: Saturday, November 16, 2 PM