Black artists unveil pieces inspired by King, Black Lives Matter movement

The Detroit News

Southfield — As a tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and in recognition of the Black Lives Matter movement, two local artists unveiled original pieces on MLK Day.

Priscilla Phifer and Marcel Stewart are both Black artists who have been inspired by this modern day social justice movement as well as King's civil rights legacy. 

Artist Priscilla Phifer introduces an original piece, to commemorate MLK Day, from an abstract series entitled "Black Lines Matter," drawing inspiration from the Black Lives Matter social justice movement at Umoja Fire Arts gallery in Detroit, Michigan  on January 18, 2021.

Phifer's abstract series entitled "Black Lines Matter" features black lines representing a diverse population of Black people: bold, straight, thin, heavy, young, old, women, men, children, gay — a majority of whom were killed by White officers.

The piece is a 24’x36” acrylic on canvas entitled “Black Lines Matter: Atatiana” which represents Atatiana Jefferson, age 28, who was killed in her Miami, Florida, home in 2019, shot by police when a neighbor reported that her front door was left open. 

Stewart draws inspiration from several famous quotes from King, particularly his passion for civil rights and equality for all. His piece is a 36’x48’ acrylic on canvas entitled “Still Uncivil” and ties in Dr. King’s legacy and present-day social injustice.

The pieces were unveiled to the public from 1-6 p.m. Monday at the Umoja Fine Arts Gallery, 16250 Northland Drive, Suite 102 in Southfield. 

Artist Marcel Stewart introduces an original piece “Still Uncivil,” to commemorate MLK Day, drawing inspiration from several of Dr. King’s famous quotes and his passion for civil rights and equality for all at Umoja Fire Arts gallery in Detroit, Michigan  on January 18, 2021.

Umoja means Unity in Swahili and that is what the gallery strives to maintain in the community: unity among family, community, nation and race. The gallery has been operating since 1996 and advocates for peace, unity and cultural awareness.

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