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Detroit artist Tony Rave actively seeks to dismantle systemic markers of white propaganda, which have come to embed themselves in our society through symbols found in popular and mass culture. He advents this aim through the conceptual practice of aligning sacred objects with mundane products—the image of Christ appearing on a mayonnaise bottle; bottles of Hennessy encased as part of murals with ephemeral material depicting the Virgin Mary; a Nike emblem enamoring white cherubs in Blackface. Rave’s work reconfigures sacred and consumer objects as palimpsest creations, deconstructing the very layered and problematic history of sanctity, race, and consumerism in America. Rave’s art reflects both physical and symbolic amalgamations that unify and demystify the very objects and images that have contributed to oppressive rhetorics and idolizations throughout human history. At the same time, Rave’s work draws from other symbols which can evoke hopeful reconstitutions of community, healing, and a Black imaginary. Rave’s work has been showcased nationally and internationally, and he has been a recipient of many grants, awards, and fellowships throughout his career.

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