Intersectional Black identities put into focus with new exhibition at Playground Detroit

What’s happening: A new solo exhibition from Detroit artist Lo Braden, also known as Lo Cayne, has opened at the Playground Detroit gallery, open now through Saturday, March 11. The portrait series titled “Black + _______” showcases Lo Braden’s work, while also offering future subjects the opportunity to book individual portrait sessions with the artist on Saturdays and Sundays, by appointment and at reduced rates.

"Erada's Place: Her Home," Digital Photography on Cotton Rag Paper, 24 x 36 inches, 2023, by Lo Braden.What it is: Lo Braden’s “Black + _______” exhibition captures intersectional Black identities in a series of portraits inspired by James van Der Zee’s work documenting the Harlem Renaissance. It’s the artist’s intent to feature individuals “most often excluded from the mainstream narrative of American Black Identity,” according to a release. It’s a group that is diverse in sexual orientation, gender, disability, and age.

Why it’s important: "Black people are not a monolith,” says Lo Braden. “There are many of us who stand at the intersection of identities – Black and gay. Black and disabled. Black and non-binary. Many people even identify as all of the above. I want those who view this body of work to realize that there is a range of diversity across Black culture and identities that go unseen."

Individual attention: Lo Braden put out on an open call for subjects and then worked with each individually to determine sets and locations. Color theory, composition, and concepts were tailored to showcase the beauty and glamor of each person selected, showcasing the individuals that don’t see themselves represented in mainstream media.

The artist will also be available on Saturdays and Sundays to shoot portraits of additional subjects throughout the duration of the exhibition, the sessions of which are available on a sliding scale at a reduced rate. The portraits are available by appointment only and can be booked online.

What they’re saying: "I aim to capture the essence and soul of Black people, the people who gave birth to so many movements and culture that have historically and continue to influence American culture,” they say. “My experiences as a Black, disabled, queer human run through my nerves to help me usher in a new era of rebirth.”

Playground Detroit is located at 2845 Gratiot Ave. in Detroit.

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.