"Do You Hear the People Sing?"



Greetings on this special Sunday. It's a joyous day for those of us who rejoice over having beloved fathers, or being beloved fathers. It's a bittersweet day for those of us whose beloved fathers have since passed. And it is a conflicting and complicated day, perhaps marked by some amount of hurt and longing, for those of us who were not able to know our fathers, and those of us whose relationships with our fathers have been difficult, or painful, or both. Almost all of us have a place for ourselves somewhere within the framework of this fourth Sunday in June.

As for fathers, last week I dusted off and presented a little information about one in particular. He had no biological children (though he did become an adoptive father), but has, because of his tireless pursuit of justice through non-violent action, fondly been referred to as a founding father. Per Barack Obama, "a founding father of" a "fuller, fairer, better America.” The man, of course, was the late and honorable John Lewis, Democratic State Representative of Georgia's fifth district.

This week, it's time for shop talk. My thoughts shift to another father.

This father has biological children. Three. He has stepchildren. Two. So he's definitely a "dad." And in the crazy-busy June slew of summer inaugurations, patriotic holidays, patriarch celebrations, mid-year birthdays, anniversaries and graduations, it so happens that his youngest has, as of this week, tossed the mortar board. But he has started, or founded, a thing or two in his time.

Eno Laget (pronounced /lah-gay/), an artist whose work is featured in the Paloma Azul Collection at ARTHAUS:Detroit, has founded a studio based on an art technique, printmaking techniques to be exact, that he is to an extent pioneering. Two Blacks Studio.

While an art technique is not as lofty as, "a fuller, fairer, better America," or not an incarnation of an ideal country, this art technique is typically used in making art that asks us to think about or face the reality of who we are and who we ought to be, of what America has been and is, versus what America should be. Laget's particular figure-based, multi-layer stencil technique, which is to be discussed here in an interview later this summer, was used to create the award-winning, multi-layer, stencil print -- that's right, it's not a brush painting -- Property Relations, pictured above. Limited edition prints of which are also available through ARTHAUS:Detroit. If the figure looks familiar, it's because it is Rosa Parks. You can deduce why she's holding "1619" instead of "7053." The words written in Arabic espouse Martin Luther King Jr.'s statement, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Well, it just so happens that this past week, an abridged version of a 2014 Michael Hodges Detroit News story, featuring the work of Eno Laget and his Two Blacks Studio, resurfaced online. For some reason, the majority of the text has been removed, so that what's left is essentially a picture gallery, which works really well, but Laget's photos and their accompanying captions make the photo stream read like a photo journal. And you'll catch a glimpse of me in there. The one mistake I see is that what's presented doesn't acknowledge that two of the artists -- Walter Bailey and Eno Laget himself -- are unequivocally accomplished professional artists, not amateurs, as the title might imply. That one oversight aside, this is a retrospective that's definitely worth a good look.

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