Purged, a multi-faceted multimedia exhibit, is all about the art of metamorphosis. Detroit artist Nancy J. Rodwan requested that people she knows give her items they’d been meaning to dispose of but for some reason had stored away in their closets, attics, basements, or garages. Everyone she asked enthusiastically offered her a variety of things ranging from old electronics and clothing to books and kitchen utensils – all of which she completely transformed into art.
Examples of the paintings, sculptures, assemblages, collages, and fiber art Rodwan created from cast-off detritus include: A bold doll-like figure called “The Deity of Funk Stitched Together from Jive Ass Slippers” made from the leather baby shoes donated by musician Nadir Omowale; A majestic horse head-shaped wooden sculpture called “Gizo’s Great Horse” carved from a piece of molding from an old Detroit building given to her by Olyami Dabls, the artist and founder of Dabls African Bead Museum; A sculpture suggesting a robotic hand crafted from pieces of a typewriter salvaged frthe former headquarters of the Detroit Free Press by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and talk show host Stephen Henderson.
“How Cool is That” was inspired by a pair of Wonder Woman dolls donated by Detroit radio legend Ann Delisi. Nancy Rodwan explains:
“I am a big fan of Ann Delisi’s show Essential Music on Detroit’s WDET and listen to it in my studio regularly. The deep thought, research and pure fun she puts into her program inspires me. Ann can often be heard saying – how cool is that? – when something strikes her fancy. It makes me smile every time she says it. I wanted to create something fun with the dolls. I asked Nadir Omowale to write a funky love song titled “How Cool Is That?” and I created a stop-motion film featuring the lovebird dolls.