Shaping our future in Detroit

Over the last few weeks, our team has been very busy and focused on installing the exhibition that we will open on November 15, Detroit Style: Car Design in the Motor City, 19502020. Keeping socially distanced and wearing a facemask, I have seen the 12 cars, designed and made in Detroit, come into the building and maneuvered into the galleries. Alongside them, many other works of art, drawings, paintings and sculpture will help tell the story of how the automotive industry, born and raised in Detroit, changed the world, with creativity, innovation, intelligence, and hard work.

Those last words resonate in my mind, in one way or another, every time I walk into Rivera Court and see our masterpiece, described as the Sistine Chapel of America. Diego Rivera created those murals at the height of his powers, and he was especially proud of the results. While there is no doubt of its extraordinary artistic quality, the images on the walls capture, in my view, one of the greatest moments of humanity: the birth of the automotive industry. An industry that changed the way we understood transportation, how we related to each other in our society, and conceived our lives in this world. 

As I mentioned on other occasions, I believe that a hundred years from now, our descendants on this planet will look back in history and acknowledge that Detroit, thanks to the creation of the car industry, crucially shaped the history of humanity. Perhaps Detroit will be considered like some of the historic and influential places in both Ancient Greece and India, where the origins of our democratic system can be found in city-states or poleis (Greece) and sanghas (India). Time will write our history. For the moment, our city and its hard-working people endure to make history with our industries, the Rivera murals have become a place of pilgrimage, and we are part of a country in which democracy has been exemplary for the world.

To continue maintaining the vigor of our democracy and its values, tomorrow we are called to exercise our right and responsibility to vote. This is of paramount importance as we keep strengthening the fabric of our society and elect the individuals that will lead us, especially during this very complicated pandemic and social time. I became an American citizen just over three years ago, and I am excited to cast my first presidential vote. I hope you will vote too and look at the present and near future as an opportunity to grow as a nation, whatever your political beliefs are. In the meantime, the DIA will keep working hard for the community, inspired by the very individuals we see depicted in our Rivera murals, forging with their hands and sweat, the future of Detroit. In many ways, our upcoming show Detroit Style is a tribute to all of them and the democracy where the DIA was born, which we renew as a nation every four years.

Categories:  From The Director