UICA exhibit redefines black male identity

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — An exhibit currently inside the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in downtown Grand Rapids examines black masculinity, identity and stereotypes.

“Translating Valence: redefining black male identity” will show at the UICA through May 3. News 8 toured the installation with UICA’s Exhibitions Curator Juana Williams.

uica translating valence
The Translating Valence exhibition at the UICA in Grand Rapids. (Feb. 13, 2020)

“The basis of the show is really thinking about stereotypes of black men, which of course weren’t created by black men, and then redefining those identities in their own languages. So, it’s this self-defined identity in a way,” Williams explained. 

uica translating valence
The Translating Valence exhibition at the UICA in Grand Rapids. (Feb. 13, 2020)

The exhibit includes artwork from six artists based across the country: Stephen Arboite, Scott Campbell, Nate Lewis, Patrick Quarm, Devan Shimoyama and Joshua Solas.

“I really wanted to try to focus on different versions of black male identity because obviously when you talk about a whole group of people, you can’t only show one version of them,” Williams added. 

The museum is open every day beginning at noon expect Mondays, when the UICA is closed. More information about the exhibit and future installations can be found on its website. 

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