Growing up, Detroit-based sculptor Austen Brantley wanted to play football more than anything else. That was until one day when he found his voice in ceramics class and in creating sculptures out of clay. Now, he’s creating solo exhibitions of his work, like his latest exhibit “Musé” at the Carr Center Gallery in Midtown through Feb. 25, 2023.  

The exhibit features clay sculptures, paintings and drawings of women with influences from African American culture and the African diaspora. Brantley will be at his Carr Center Gallery exhibit for an in-person artist talk on Feb. 24.  

One Detroit contributor Cecelia Sharpe, of WRCJ 90.9 FM, caught up with Brantley at his studio space in the Russell Industrial Center to talk about “Musé,” two upcoming works dedicated to Michigan’s African American history he’s working on, and how he communicates through his artwork.  

Brantley talks about the inspiration and influence he finds from strong Black women and African artwork, as well as two major sculptures he’s creating of Henry and Elizabeth Hamer, the first African Americans to buy land in Royal Oak in 1857, and the former Detroit Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson, which will be displayed in Rouge Park once completed.  

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