Artist Mario Moore explores Detroit’s Black Abolitionist Movement in a new exhibition

David Klein Gallery, 1520 Washington Boulevard, Detroit, Michigan is pleased to announce the grand opening midnight and Canaan, a presentation of new paintings and silverpoint drawings by Detroit-based artist Mario Moore. The exhibition also premieres Take Flight, a short film directed by Danielle Eliska Lyle and produced by Mario Moore.

Mario Moore has a passion for digging into the past to find the stories that form the basis of his beautifully rendered paintings. Extensive research on the subject is a fundamental part of his practice. Moore’s previous series have included investigations into the role of African Americans in the Civil War, the presence of African Americans at Princeton University, and his family’s history in Detroit. Inspired by studying “A Fluid Border: Slavery, Resistance and the Underground railroad in the Detroit Flow border area,” Wayne State University Press, Moore’s Research for the midnight and Canaan The exhibition took him through the history of the Underground Railroad in the Canadian border cities of Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Canada. Moore was particularly drawn to the compelling story of anti-slavery activists Thornton and Lucie Blackburn. The Blackburns had escaped slavery in Kentucky, but after two years of freedom they were recaptured in Detroit. Her imprisonment inspired the local black community to rally in protest, leading to the Blackburn riots of 1833. (This is credited as the first instance of a race riot in the United States.) Ultimately, the Blackburns were successful in their quest for freedom and settled in Toronto, where they built a home and a thriving business.

I found stories the was frequently to bury or ignored in American collective understanding from our history. in the special, the story from Dornton and Lucie black fire, a brave, empowered young couple who escaped enslavement out Kentucky to Detroit and later done in Canada, was a cornerstone in my understanding from Detroit’s Black militancy…. Mario bogs, 2022

Moore presents his images of the Blackburns in the present. In large format painting Lucie and Dornton Blackburn’s arrival in Midnight, Dressed in period clothing, they lie on a sunny beach with views of the Windsor skyline in the background. in the Dornton and Lucie black fire in Canaanwe see them lying on the beach again, but now it’s night and the city of Detroit can be seen on the horizon while the fires of the 1833 riot light up the sky.

This New body from work I have created to the midnight and Canaan challenges the Viewers to Consider who the Black pioneers in Detroit was before the Big Migration. It asks the Viewers to regard the Challenges, staying power and willpower from Black persons out the past and currently inside this two cities. What does the future stop to the Black populations on This International Border?…Mario bogs, 2022

The city of Detroit (“Midnight”) was one of the last stops on the Underground Railroad before reaching freedom in Canada (“Canaan”). A crucial stop on the road to freedom was the Second Baptist Church in Detroit, which distinguished itself as the first black church in Michigan. For more than 30 years, the Church housed thousands of escaped slaves en route to Canaan. Abolitionist leaders, including Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass, worked with the church and its anti-slavery organizations in their mission to bring escaped slaves to safety and freedom. It is estimated that there were 200 subway stations in Michigan from the 1820s to 1865 when slavery was abolished. During his research, Moore became familiar with the stories of the prominent figures active in Detroit’s underground railroad network, most notably William Lambert and George de Baptiste. Her portraits are featured in this exhibition along with Sojourner Truth’s.

Mario Moore, a Detroit native, received a BFA from the College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI and an MFA in painting from Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT. In addition to the Hodder Fellowship at Princeton, he received residencies at Duke University, the Josef and Annie Albers Foundation, Fountainhead, and Knox College. Moore’s work is in the collections of

the Detroit Institute of Art, Princeton University Art Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Mott-Warsh Collection, the Louisiana State University Museum of Art, Winston Salem State University and Knox College.

Moore’s work has been widely exhibited, including at the Charles H. Wright Museum, Detroit; The Detroit Institute of Arts; the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University, NJ; the Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, IL; Cranbrook Art Museum; David Klein Gallery, Detroit, MI; The Municipal Institute for Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids, MI; Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Colby College Museum of Art and currently in the Smithsonian Sites Exhibition (while traveling), Men of Change. his solo exhibition, Anchored: Present & conservation opened in June 2021 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit and in March 2022 at the California African American Museum (CAAM).

Mario Moore lives and works in Detroit. He is represented by the David Klein Gallery.

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