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Institute for the Humanities pres.

Opening Reception & Conversation with the Artist

Artist Tylonn J. Sawyer and Amanda Krugliak, Institute for the Humanities curator

Join us for conversation with Tylonn J. Sawyer and curator Amanda Krugliak, followed by Q & A and reception.

About Tylonn J. Sawyers exhibition "WHITE HISTORY MONTH VOL. 1" at the Institute for the Humanities gallery Nov. 18 - Dec 19.

Mining symbols of power and oppression from the historical strata of western art, Sawyer exposes truths, while covering others to gain a clearer picture of concepts that have shaped our current society. Within the context of his figurative drawings and paintings Sawyer presents an alternative to the historical record that often accompanies well known images throughout art history.

Inspired by current trends to redact post Civil War Confederate monuments from the American landscape, Sawyer poses the question: Why are some symbols of oppression lauded, considered sacred and become canonized while others cause the public to demand their destruction? Is there a logical thread in the tapestry of oppression? Can this thread be observed? Can this thread be considered? Lastly, can this thread then be unraveled?

Additionally, this exhibition features a series of drawings titled Grâce Nóir, which features Black women whose works have contributed to shaping the landscape of visual culture.

About the artist:

Tylonn J. Sawyer (b. 1976) is an American figurative artist, educator, & curator living and working in Detroit, Michigan. His work centers around themes of identity, both individual & collective, politics, race, history and pop culture. In 2013, Sawyer expanded his studio practice to include large public murals and collaborative projects throughout Detroit, Michigan. Tylonn is a professor of art at Oakland Community College and teaches drawing at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Sawyer’s passion for arts education lead to his community work with youth. He has worked with various community arts programs throughout New York, serving as an art director, teacher, curriculum specialist, and more. Most recently, in early 2014, Sawyer started the first teen arts council in Michigan for the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. Tylonn earned an MFA in painting from the New York Academy of Art: Graduate School of Figurative Art and a BFA in drawing & painting from Eastern Michigan University. In 2019, he was awarded the Alain Locke Recognition Award as well as a Kresge Fellowship for Visual Art.

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