Senghor Reid

Senghor Reid (b. 1976) is a multidisciplinary artist who explores the interactions between the human body and the environment, creating visual representations of dreams, memories and the impact of human contact with nature. He has a particular interest in water, believing it to be a shapeshifter, a metaphor for healing, and a space for us to relinquish control and submit to something bigger than ourselves.Dually immersed in a tradition of embracing color through portraits, and being receptive to the call of performance, Reid’s artistic intent to date reflects a thorough engagement with the whole of the art ecosystem.

The artist earned a BFA from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI); a Masters of Teaching in Art Education from Wayne State University (Detroit, MI) and attended the internationally recognized Marathon Program at the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture (NY, NY). He is currently an Artist-in-Residence at the Cranbrook Schools (Bloomfield Hills, MI) and is a National Board Certified Visual Arts Educator. He has also received many awards including the Kresge Foundation’s, Kresge Arts in Detroit Visual Artist Fellowship prize and the prestigious Governor’s Award for Emerging Artist (Michigan). Reid’s work has been exhibited in the U.S. and abroad in galleries and museums including the Museum of Contemporary Art –Detroit, Kentler International Drawing Space, St. Catharine Museum, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. His work is part of private, public, and corporate art collections nationwide.


We are more dependent on water than we often realize. From our very beginning, it surrounds us before we enter the world and becomes over half of who we are once we arrive. It also propels itself in sweeping waves and, much like the nature of our society, relies on the majority’s willingness to change belief and form as needed. For multidisciplinary artist Senghor Reid, “Changing Currents, New Reflections” employs the fluid and powerful nature of water as a metaphor for renewed perspectives on growth, individual healing, and a mental space for communities like his own to regain control, change directions, and enable what is vital for collective sustainability.

A Detroit native, Reid’s artistic interest was initially activated by his family life through his parents, renowned painter and educator Shirley Woodson and Edsel B. Reid, an art collector and jazz enthusiast. He was interested in fashion photography as a high school and early college student, and later followed the magnetic draw to focus on paintings; relationships with fellow Detroiter and gallerist Jumanne N’Namdi also propelled his ideas of what was possible within the bounds of the art ecosystem. Reid’s recent performances and paintings alike urge audiences to take the steps to assess their realities and return to the core of who they are as many times as necessary. In The Mood for Love (2022), a soul-stirring self portrait balancing soft and bold colors with detailed brushstrokes that create layers of texture, is reminiscent of Beauford Delaney’s vibrant modernist paintings. Through this and many other instances, Reid continues a tradition of Black male artists fearlessly adapting color, form, and style to suit the features of Black faces.

Equally inspired by abstract painters like Gilda Snowden and Adrian Piper’s philosophies on performance work, the artist is further influenced by the moving image and the ideative connection between visual mediums. Reid transforms these references into deeply reflective paintings centered on an understanding and celebration of self that reverberates throughout the canvas and appeals to diverse audiences.