The Modern Ancient Brown Foundation's inaugural MAB ‘Pay-It-Forward’ Artist Campaign, in contemplation of the Foundation’s mission; was created to support the intersection of the literary and visual arts, we know that for us those connections begin here in Detroit.
Heavily influenced by McArthur’s personal experiences, and journey as an artist, it is important to us to build an organization that not only supports the work of black, indigenous and artists of color — but also empowers them to tell their own stories.
The Foundation’s board of directors has selected 5 artists to award a $1500, unrestricted micro grant, and the ability to “pay it forward” by granting an additional $1500 to another member of the Detroit arts community.
PAINTER, MURALIST & PHOTOGRAPHER
Bakpak Durden is an interdisciplinary fine artist. With a primary focus on the figure, Bakpak uses a range of mediums including oil and acrylic paint, graphite and fine art photography to create their hyperrealistic, conceptual style. Their detailed, emotionally engaging subjects shine a spotlight on human feelings and moods.
FINE ARTIST & MURALIST
Sydney G. James paints are the beginnings of what will become rich, emotional portraits. Deep hues, and complex layering created with the use of acrylics, oils, pastels, graphite, and other mediums, have become signatures of her work portraying familiar, friendly and familiar faces.
OIL PORTRAIT ARTIST
Gisela McDaniel is a diasporic indigenous Chamorro artist. Her work is based in healing from her own sexual trauma and reflecting the healing of women and non-binary people who have survived sexual trauma. Interweaving assemblages of audio, oil painting, and motion-sensored technology, she creates pieces that “come to life” and literally “talk back” to the viewer upon being triggered by observers. She intentionally incorporates survivor’s voices in order to subvert traditional power relations and to enable both individual and collective healing.
HARPIST, FILM & SOUND ARTIST
Working across myriad disciplines, Detroit based multidisciplinary artist, performer, filmmaker and harpist. Ahya Simone's many pronged practice is bound by an exploration of black identity, aesthetic, and community building. Simone’s engagement with music stems from a childhood spent in the black church, where she learned to sing. In high school, she began to play the harp and became principal harpist for the Wayne State University wind symphony upon her graduation.
Tiff Massey's work merges the regal aesthetics of traditional African fashion and hair-styling techniques with the grandiose bravado of 1980’s hip-hop jewelry. Influenced by Detroit’s history of ostentatious fashion, their work examines how symbols of wealth in the regalia of African diaspora affect the wearer’s behavior and attitude, eliciting an experience whereupon the viewer may encounter an object and engage in thoughts and/or acts of vanity.