“No matter how dark a situation may be, a camera can extract the light and turn a negative into a positive. In creating Flint Is Family In Three Acts, I see the role of photographs as empowering and enacting visible change: in Act I, the photographs bear witness and reclaim history; in Act II, the photographs reveal a hidden narrative; in Act III, the photographs are a catalyst for obtaining resources.” —LaToya Ruby Frazier
Flint Is Family In Three Acts is a multi-part exhibition by renowned artist LaToya Ruby Frazier. For five years, Frazier researched and collaborated with two poets, activists, mothers and residents of Flint, Michigan, Shea Cobb and Amber Hasan, as they endured one of the most devastating ecological crises in U.S. history. Resulting in a monumental oeuvre of photographs, video, and texts Frazier developed Flint Is Family In Three Acts (2016–2021) to advocate for access to clean and safe drinking water for all regardless of race, religion and economic status. The series records stories of surviving and thriving, especially within racialized and marginalized neighborhoods in Flint, to ensure that they remained visible in national debates concerning environmental justice. Drawing inspiration from the urgency in Frazier’s work, which also sheds light on building equitable and inclusive futures Stamps Gallery, part of Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at University of Michigan, initiated a partnership with the Flint Institute of Arts and the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University to bring this important exhibition together for the first time in Michigan. As co-presenters of this landmark exhibition our goal is to offer a creative pedagogical platform that reaches broader audiences across Michigan and beyond—Flint is Family: Act I (2016–2017) will take place at the Flint Institute of Arts, Act II (2017–2019) at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, and Act III (2019) at Stamps Gallery. The exhibition served as a catalyst to bring three disparate institutions together to deepen our understanding of individual and institutional agency in advocating for equity, transparency and environmental justice in our respective communities, while also highlighting the role of the artist as an agent for enacting positive social change.
Organized by Stamps Gallery in partnership with the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, and the Flint Institute of Arts. Curated by Srimoyee Mitra, Tracee Glab, and Steven L. Bridges with the assistance of Jennifer Junkermeier-Khan, Rachel Winter, and Rachael Holstege.