DIA Honors Early Black Cinema in ‘Regeneration’ Exhibition
Many events are being held throughout Metro Detroit next month to celebrate Black History Month. Some of those events include museums and galleries offering exhibits and collection experiences to restaurants and businesses hosting cultural events.
On February 4, the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA) is set to unveil its newest exhibition, Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898-1971. This exhibit is organized by the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. This temporary addition to the museum will feature over 200 pieces of Black movie memorabilia. Visitors will be able to see props, outfits, posters, and screenings of early short films made by Black creators.
Additionally, the Detroit Film Theatre will contribute to the project by hosting more than 20 movie nights showing classic Black films from 1898 to 1971.
More about the exhibition.
The exhibit will honor the legacy of African American filmmakers and actors from the beginning of cinema through the golden age and into the aftermath of the civil rights movement. According to the DIA, the exhibit is named after an independent 1923 all-Black cast movie, Regeneration. “Regeneration seeks to revive lost or forgotten films, filmmakers, and performers for a contemporary audience,” stated the website.
Visitors can expect a narrative through seven sections and themes. The “Introduction” explores the social and political context of Black Americans during the early years of American cinema. “Early Film” dives into the portrayal of Black people in movies from 1897 to 1915. “Race Films” examines the contributions of pioneering independent Black filmmakers like Oscar Micheaux and films created for Black audiences from the 1910s to the 1940s.
“Music and Film” looks into the presence of Black music in American cinema, covering Black musicals and the “soundie” art form. “Stars and Icons” highlights Black stardom, while “Freedom Movements” captures cinematic stories and careers emerging during times of societal and political change. Lastly, “Agency” traces the bold and innovative paths taken by Black directors during the civil rights movement.
Regeneration will be free to all residents of Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties. The exhibition will only be around until June 23.
If you want to know more about the exhibition, check out the website here.