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Rapper/wordsmith Mahogany Jones

Photography by Tafari and Brix Wine & Charcuterie Boutique will unveil and debut the visual showcase “Couch: Beautiful – An Exploration of Beautiful Black Women,” Saturday, February 10, 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. at Brix Detroit located at 7968 Kercheval Ave, in Detroit.

 

The exhibit will profile some of Detroit’s internationally-renowned women artists, activists, and thought leaders photographed and curated by noted photographer and visual artist Tafari K. Stevenson-Howard (of Photography by Tafari.com). The series started as informal photography sessions with friends that eventually evolved into a full-on exhibit-worthy collection of photos.

 

“This series was born out of frustration,” said Stevenson-Howard. “I had ordered a couch that came to me in the wrong color. Life is about being able to pivot, so I re-accessorized my living room studio (also called the Humble Ranch) around the couch and started photographing my friends on it. I have many friends and associates in the art and when I started posting photographs from those sessions on social media, it began to generate a lot of word-of-mouth buzz and the project soon took on a life of its own.”

 

The Brix Detroit exhibit is an abbreviated version of the Humble Ranch photography sessions, with the full exhibit being set for release later in the year. In all, over 70 subjects were photographed, with 15 chosen for the exhibition opening at Brix Detroit.

 

Some of the featured subjects include International poet/activist/artist Jessica Care Moore; global rapper/wordsmith Mahogany Jones; model/tastemaker and Mahogani Music ambassador Tracy Washington; visual artist maven Sydney James; soul songstress/writer/composer Ideeyah; and international DJ/producer DJ Minx and many more.

 

Many of the profiled artists have become internationally-renowned in their respective fields without artistic antecedent or support from white male-dominated artistic institutions, which makes their influence and inclusion in the exhibit all the more special.

 

“I wanted to showcase the diversity of black people,” added Stevenson-Howard. “We are a complex and resilient people, and not monolithic. Black women, in particular, bring a lot to the table in what they have had to overcome. From the slavery of the 1700 and 1800s to the inequitable social and financial systems that have exploited them for centuries, black women’s spirits have remained uncrushed by such extraordinary stress. Black women continue to be at the forefront of social change nationally in creating the “Me Too” and “Black Lives Matter” movements or by influencing elections that promote greater awareness of issues that enhance our social fabric. So, this is a celebration of black women in all their humanity, regality, beauty and diversity.”

 

Stevenson-Howard sees the exhibit not only being a collection of pictorial photographs, but also a catalyst for social discourse.

“I want this to be more than an exhibit,” he said. “I am a storyteller by nature and this series helped to facilitate my passion. This series taught me how important social connections and interactions are. There were times during the sessions that there were 6-7 people at my studio at a time, all sharing their experiences and connecting with each other. In much the same way that barber shops and hair salons are places where people can express themselves without fear of judgment or reprisals, the Humble Ranch become one of those spaces. So, I hope that this exhibit stirs roundtable discussions and stories around the trials, tribulations, triumphs, perspectives and adventures of some of these amazing black women.”

 

The Couch: Beautiful series will show at Brix Wine & Charcuterie Boutique for the months of March and April. The venue is open Wed – Thurs, 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Fri – Sat, 4 pm – 1 a.m.

Tafari K. Stevenson-Howard is an award-winning photographer, visual artist, graphic designer, and blogger who has work has been seen in the New York and Los Angeles Times and is considered a gatekeeper in the arts community. Visit photographybytafari.com for further information.

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