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Renowned CCS Alumnus Pays Homage to Frontline Workers in Exhibition

April 19, 2022
an oil on canvas painting of Black people sitting in a restaurant

In his first solo exhibition, a Detroit-based artist depicts the visual dedication of marginalized groups in America.

Mario Moore’s (Illustration, ‘09) “Enshrined: Presence + Perseverance” at the California African American Museum (CAAM) includes work from both early on in his career and recent work—“The Work of Several Lifetimes”—which was created with assistance from Princeton University’s Hodder Fellowship.

The works presented represent Moore’s devotion to visually displaying the dedicated work of marginalized groups in American society. Though this had been the focus of his work in years prior, it’s become more prevalent—thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic—because of the increased efforts of their labor.

The exhibition not only showcases their labor, but also their leisure. Moore celebrates both simultaneously.

“Enshrined: Presence + Perseverance” introduces two new portraits made exclusively for CAAM. The work features two women who work as custodians at the museum, and he did this to honor the efforts of these employees who often go unnoticed because of the work they do behind the scenes, which is essential for the successes of such museums.

The exhibition is now open, running from March 23 to October 2, 2022.

Moore is Detroit-born and based figurative painter whose subjects stand tall, gazing confidently at the viewer. They convey a dignified presence without regalia, a type of depiction that places Moore’s portraiture within a lineage of artists such as Kerry James Marshall, Barkley L. Hendricks, and one of Moore’s earliest influences, the seventeenth-century Spanish painter Diego Velázquez.