Detroit’s Irwin House Gallery gears up for Black History Month with John Sims mural and Ivan Quiñones II show

Quiñones tackles Kyrie Irving backlash in first solo exhibit ‘The Price of Speech’

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click to enlarge "Not Your Negro" by Ivan Quiñones II. - Courtesy of Irwin House Gallery
Courtesy of Irwin House Gallery
"Not Your Negro" by Ivan Quiñones II.

Detroit’s Irwin House Gallery is continuing its dedication to highlighting Black talent with a strong lineup of events for Black History Month.

The gallery, located at 2351 W. Grand Blvd., will host the first solo exhibit for emerging artist Ivan Quiñones II, called The Price of Speech. The exhibit is anchored by the painter’s critical “Not Your Negro” piece, which depicts a pair of Twitter birds gagging Brooklyn Nets basketball player Kyrie Irving with an American flag.

Irving was temporarily suspended from the NBA and lost an endorsement with Nike last November after tweeting his support of the controversial film Hebrews to Negroes: Wake up Black America, which has been criticized for promoting antisemitism.

Quiñones, who was born and raised in Pontiac, made “Not Your Negro” in response to the controversy to address the silencing of Black voices and the true cost of free speech. In the exhibit, Quiñones also pays homage to Black athletes who were chastised for speaking out on civil and social issues like Colin Kaepernick, who famously kneeled during the U.S. national anthem at NFL games to protest police brutality, and John Carlos and Tommie Smith, who similarly raised their fists at the 1968 Olympics.

An open house reception is slated for Feb. 10 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and an artist talk will take place on Feb. 19.

Additionally, the gallery will have a Red (Black and Green) Room showcasing works by local artists Habacuc Bessiake, Shirley Woodson, Jasmine Graham, Jimmy James Greene, Allen Williams, BAI, Brandi Langie, Bria Erby, Dalejuan, Daniel Parker, Donald Calloway, Elonte Davis, Kayleigh Blevins, Kirah Price, Marlon Ivory, Quadre Curry, and Rotimi Godwin.

A tribute mural to Detroit artist and activist John Sims by Quadre Curry will also be on display at Irwin House through the end of the month. Several works by Sims, who passed away in December of 2022, will be displayed on the second floor of the gallery.

click to enlarge Irwin House Gallery artist-in-residence Quadre Curry painted a mural in honor of John Sims. - Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo
Irwin House Gallery artist-in-residence Quadre Curry painted a mural in honor of John Sims.

As a tribute to Sims’s annual birthday and Valentine’s Day event, the SquareRoot of Love, Irwin House will host a candlelight open mic poetry night called Love Language on Monday, Feb. 13 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Irwin House’s Black History Month programming is part of a city-wide initiative in partnership with Detroit’s Office of Arts, Culture & Entrepreneurship called Sacred Spaces that highlights Black-owned art spaces in the city.

For more information, see irwinhousegallery.org.

Location Details

Irwin House Gallery

2351 Grand Blvd., Detroit Greater Detroit Area

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About The Author

Randiah Camille Green

After living in Japan and traveling across Asia, Randiah Camille Green realized Detroit will always be home. And when she says Detroit, she's talking about the hood, not the suburbs. She has bylines in Planet Detroit News , Bridge Detroit , BLAC magazine, and Model D . Her favorite pastimes are meditating...
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