Detroit artist Rashaun Rucker explores black male identity through American ornithology. In his hybrid portraits, he combines the images of black men with the anatomical features of rock pigeons, both cast aside and conditioned, unable to free themselves from their imposed fates or surroundings.
Rashaun Rucker was born in Winston-Salem, NC, and is a product of North Carolina Central University and Marygrove College. He makes photographs, prints and drawings and has won more than 40 national and state awards for his work. In 2008, Rucker became the first African American to be named Michigan Press Photographer of the Year. He also won a national Emmy Award in 2008 for documentary photography on the pit bull culture in Detroit. Rucker was a Maynard Fellow at Harvard in 2009 and a Hearst visiting professional in the journalism department at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2013. In 2014 Rucker was awarded an artist residency at the Red Bull House of Art. In 2016, Rucker was honored as a Modern Man by Black Enterprise magazine. In 2017, Rucker created the original artwork for the critically acclaimed Detroit Free Press documentary 12 and Clairmount. His work was recently featured in HBO’s celebrated series Random Acts of Flyness and Native Son. In 2019, Rucker was awarded the Red Bull Arts Detroit micro grant and was named a Kresge Arts Fellow for his drawing practice. Rucker’s work is represented in numerous public and private collections.
Rashaun Rucker’s work is on view at the Institute for the Humanities (202 S. Thayer St.) from September 13th through October 15th, 2021.