Marcus Lyon, a British artist and photographer working in Detroit, is in the third month of an ambitious, long-term "identity art project."
He's talking with, recording and photographing 100 local women and men nominated to represent a cross-section of the community. His foundation-backed undertaking is called "I.Detroit – A Human Atlas of an American City."
Lyon, 53, describes it as a "social-impact art initiative," similar to two earlier projects by him -- a study and portrait exibit last fall of 51 Germans called "WE: deutschland" and a 2017 multimedia exhibit and book titled titled "Somos Brasil" ("We Are Brazil") that explores the country's diversity through 104 people.
Now the visiting creator is trying to "map the change agents of the city of Detroit," as he puts it recently in a social media post. His oral history and visual project is supported by a Kresge Foundation grant and affiliation with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. They helped form a "curatorial committee" to nominate participants.
Lyon, assiated by a recording engineer and producer, works from a studio in the former Durfee Elementary-Middle School on Collingwood Street in the Boston Edison neighborhood. The reovated building now houses the Durfee Innovation Society, an "opportuniuty hub" for community programs and tenants.
Residents on the other side of "I.Detroit" lenses and microphones include incoming Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, Rev. Larry Simmons of Brightmoor, gallery owner George N'Namdi, jazzman Marcus Elliot, housing advocate Michele Oberholtzer, artist Nora Chapa Mendoza, Assistant Police Chief Lashinda Stair, writer Marsha Battle Philpot, City Hall "chief storyteller" Aaron Foley and singer Renee L. Hollins, an executive producer on the project.
Twenty-one images from the project's Facebook page are below. Lyon hopes to present the multimedia project by summer 2020.
"I’m very attracted to spaces where there are people who are dispossessed, who are underrepresented in a way," he told columnist Ingrid Jacques of The Detroit News earlier this year.
"The major focus will be on those who have stayed and stuck it out in the dark years."
Jacques, deputy editorial page editor, also spoke with a foundation executive:
Wendy Lewis Jackson, managing director for Kresge’s Detroit Program, says this is a chance to highlight the city's neighborhoods and the work that often goes on behind the scenes — and the people behind these revitalization efforts.
"The project should bring a deeper understanding of how change is occurring in the city right now."
Here are behind-scenes Facebook views of 21 Detroiters to be featured:
community engagement manager for Enroll Detroit, is a longtime advocate for Detroit parents and studentrs. She speaks with recording engineer Joe Briggs-Price at Osborn Community Center.
the founder and lead musician of Bambuti a music and movement group.