In The Bloodstained Shirt (2018), Chinese artist Wang Qingsong restages in Highland Park, Michigan, an iconic 1959 drawing by Wang Shikuo of peasants rising up against a cruel landlord and triumphantly reclaiming their right to the land. Wang’s projects are usually located in China, but while visiting southeast Michigan he was struck by the similarities between the effects of inequitable real estate development on local communities in Detroit, Highland Park, and his native Beijing. His large-scale photograph, set in an abandoned factory building in Highland Park and featuring more than seventy volunteers, collapses two moments in history to present a vivid reminder of the human consequences of the ruthless pursuit of profit and the power of collective action. The exhibition includes works created in collaboration with area residents that give voice to their concerns and their hopes for transformation and renewal.
This project, which bridges between Detroit, Michigan, and Beijing, China, resonates with UMMA's mission to engage in conversation about local and global issues. UMMA is pleased to present this art project in which the participation of UM faculty members, students, and Detroit's community members has been critical.