JazzSpace Detroit at ArtPrize 9 is a collection of photographs and hand-tinted photos created by Barbara Weinberg Barefield between 1973 and 2017 that reflect Michigan's rich musical heritage and jazz, blues and Motown history. The artwork pays homage to a legacy that enriches cultural landscapes internationally, but is often underexposed at home.
Divided into three section, the left panel includes 30 images from the 20th century shot on 35 mm black and white film and originally developed and printed in the darkroom as silver gelatin prints. A number of them, including the center panel of saxophonist Faruq on a Detroit rooftop, were hand-tinted with Marshall oil paints. The right panel of 39 photos from the 21st Century were digitally shot.
Photos include Marcus Belgrave, Roy Brooks, A. Spencer Barefield, Sippie Wallace, John Lee Hooker, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Betty Carter, James Carter, Regina Carter, Faruq Z. Bey, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and other creators whose music elevate the human spirit and who have strong Detroit roots. Displayed as a 25 x7 ft collage inspired by designs and significance of quilts, it is a journey of discovery, diversity and reverberation entwined with stories and diverse journeys within each patch showcasing more than 70 legendary musicians. I hope the photographs will become gateways to lead viewers to each musicians, to hear and learn about them and their music. This website, a work-in-progress, will add information and links to the music of each musician in the future.
The Grand Rapids African American Museum (87 Monroe Center St NWGrand Rapids, MI 49503) exhibited this ArtPrize entry, which was printed as a large photo mural via the dye sublimation process on fabric. For the past 40-plus years, Barefield has been taking photos of performing artists and using the images to create silver prints, hand-tinted selenium-toned photographs on fiber-based papers, and giclee prints on canvas and papers.
Barefield's work has appeared in galleries, newspapers, magazines and books, including the first 1980 JazzSpace Detroit book supported by Michigan Council for the Arts with narrative by Herb Boyd. The JazzSpace Detroit history photo project is being supported by the Knight Foundation Arts Challenge, and Barefield's ArtPrize project is an outgrowth of this work to create an archive of her photos and art; she is currently digitizing decades of negatives and prints that will be part of a permanent publicly accessible collection at the University of Detroit Mercy and an expanded and updated edition of the JazzSpace Detroit book edited by Herb Boyd with 40-plus years of photos and history is expected in 2021.