Crop Up! | Anthony “Utē” Petit BFA ID / Tex ’18
On September 9, 2017 the Oakland Avenue Urban Farm hosted Crop Up! an event featuring artists Andrew Black, Dr. Kno, Makeeba Ellington, and myself, along with various Detroit musicians including Emily Rogers and Mahogany Jones. The event took place in a former liquor-grocery store, where community could enter to view the collaborative master plan of the North End spearheaded by ONE Mile.
The exhibition envisioned how the farm can be programmed beyond traditional operations. In what ways can farmland become gallery, entrepreneurial incubator, or innovation hub? The beauty of the exhibit was that it envisioned the North End from community perspectives, rather than an outside one. More importantly it shows that growth and innovation can, and does happen from the ground up. ONE Mile will be instrumental in championing for the North End, and pioneering community based organization. Crop Up! left me feeling hopeful, and excited for the next phase of ONE Miles plans.
I developed wallpaper and prints inspired by the crops grown at the Oakland Avenue farm, drawing from American car parts. Traveling Detroit by bike, through fields and meadows, My mind dreams how nice it would to find love among the pheasants and wild carrots. I think about Moonlight, and the quote “in moonlight black boys looks blue,” and I think about all the queer folk up and down Woodward. What would it look like for us to be hugged by chicory and lace, amongst pheasant and cricket. I think about Erykah Badu’s “green eyes” to me characterizing the beginnings of queer love and longing, and the complications in navigating the world. My wallpaper is the setting of this story in Detroit. Love is what the wallpaper conjures for me, and after seeing it installed I believe it represents that.