Frontline Prophet: James Baldwin

Frontline Prophet: James Baldwin

Opening Date:

James Baldwin is a traveling exhibition by Detroit-based creative, Sabrina Nelson. The exhibition consists of unique works birthed from Nelson’s meditation on James Baldwin and is curated by Ashara Ekundayo and Omo Misha.

James Baldwin Exhibition Image

About the Exhibit

Frontline Prophet: James Baldwin, is a traveling exhibition that features the artwork of Detroit-based creative Sabrina Nelson. In honor and celebration of his centennial birthday, Nelson provides an intimate, multi-sensory experience of James Baldwin and his legacy. The exhibition consists of unique works birthed from Nelson’s meditation on James Baldwin, and a 91-day commitment to draw his essence from her memory. With a deeply personal perspective on the iconic writer, she presents a seven-year sketchbook study, vivid works on paper and canvas, projected video, installations, collaborations with contemporary writers and thinkers, and augmented reality experiences.  


Sabrina Nelson has been a professional interdisciplinary artist for over 37 years, exhibiting throughout the Midwest and in Florida, New York, Louisiana, California, and Paris, France. She works in a variety of media and styles – from painting, drawing and sculpture, to art instillations, performances, and more. Nelson is also an educator, lecturer, and ‘artivist’—using her art as a medium for activism. She has been with the College for Creative Studies, College of Art & Design in Arts Administration for 29 years and with the Detroit Institute of Arts Education Department for 28 years. She has taught African American Art History at CCS and Oakland University, served on the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp faculty and as guest curator for the Carr Center and the Detroit Music Hall Performing Arts Center. She earned her BFA in Fine Arts from CCS in 1991. She is a Kresge Arts Fellow for 2021-2022. Her work was featured on PBS in 2020 & 2022. awarded the 2022 WCA President’s Award for Art & Activism by the Women's Caucus for Art (WCA).    


Co-curators, Ashara Ekundayo and Omo Misha are practiced creative allies of Nelson’s who are committed to sharing this exhibition around the world.  

Ashara Ekundayo is a Detroit and Oakland, CA based curator, culture bearer and creative strategist. She is the founder of the collective platform Artist As First Responder and the principal at AECreative Consulting Partners, LLC. Her international, interdisciplinary practice is rooted in joy-informed pedagogies and the study and creation of Black archives, site-responsive ceremony, curatorial residencies, and artist-based strategies that illuminate the specific expertise of Black womxn of the African Diaspora.  

A Detroit and New York-based curator and arts administrator, Omo Misha has served numerous New York institutions including the United Nations, CHRISTIE’S and City College Center for the Arts, while operating Detroit’s Irwin House Gallery. Her practice focuses on the development of emerging talent and strengthening creative communities between Detroit and Harlem.