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Photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier premieres final act of 'Flint is Family' exhibit at U-M Stamps Gallery

Jessica Jenks

Flint as Family in Three Acts

ANN ARBOR—This fall the University of Michigan’s Stamps Gallery presents “Flint is Family in Three Acts” by LaToya Ruby Frazier, a provocative exhibit spotlighting one of the most devastating ecological water crises in modern U.S. history. 

“Act III,” in its U.S. premiere, showcases 24 new works and is one of a three-part exhibition by Frazier; as part of a collaboration initiated by U-M, Act I and Act II can be seen at the Flint Institute of Arts through Dec. 30, 2022, and Michigan State University’s Broad Art Museum through Jan. 14, 2023, respectively. 

Flint is Family in Three Acts” (2016−2021) asks what the role of art is in society while addressing topics of industrialism, environmental justice and communal history. 

The exhibit is inspired by the stories of two women and their families in Flint: Shea Cobb, her daughter Zion and her mother Reneé Cobb; and Amber Hasan, her husband Tuklor and their children. The exhibit features Act I and Act II photographs in black and white and Act III photographs in color, signifying the resiliency of the community and grassroots activism to access clean drinking water.

Through her photographs, Frazier addresses topics of human rights, family, Rust Belt revitalization and more. This is the first time all three acts have been shown as a series in their entirety in the United States after numerous exhibits of the first two acts in communities across the country and recently being featured in The New York Times.

“It has been an honor to work with LaToya Ruby Frazier to bring her monumental series ‘Flint is Family in Three Acts’ to public audiences in Ann Arbor and Michigan,” said Stamps Gallery Director Srimoyee Mitra. “The exhibition debuts the third and final act in the series and inspires us to consider the role of art and artists in our society as catalysts that enhance the lives of those who have been marginalized through systemic discrimination based on race, religion and economic status.” 

The exhibit is part of U-M and Stamps Gallery’s ongoing work to bring respected leaders and innovators from a broad spectrum of creative fields to Ann Arbor. Frazier will be the featured speaker kicking off the 2022 Penny W. Stamps Speaker Series at the Michigan Theater at 5:30-6.30 p.m. Sept. 15 followed by an opening reception at Stamps Gallery (201 South Division St.) 6:30-8:30 p.m. Admission to the exhibit and opening event is free.