Image Courtesy of Detroit Institute of Arts


A core focus of the DTE Foundation is to foster creativity and art throughout the state. One of the many ways the Foundation achieves this is through its partnership with the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), a globally recognized institution that strives to be the town square of the Southeast Michigan community and beyond, creating experiences that help each visitor find a personal connection with art.

The Foundation has been supporting and partnering with the DIA since 1987, helping to bring new art exhibitions to Detroit for local residents and visitors from all over to enjoy and learn.

The DTE Foundation supported one of the DIA’s special exhibitions – James Barnor: Accra/London – A Retrospective.  

The exhibition highlights a comprehensive survey of the work of Ghanaian photographer James Barnor whose career spans more than six decades.

Nii Quarcoopome is the curator of African Art and head of the department for African Art and Indigenous Americans. He led the charge to bring James Barnor’s work to the DIA.   

“Barnor’s photographs give glimpses into various aspects of African society and culture,” said Nii. “I think it’s important for people to see how Africans lived on the continent – something that is presented so differently in the media.”

James Barnor is a studio portraitist, photojournalist and Black lifestyle photographer. He was born in 1929 in the West African nation of Ghana. He established his famous Ever Young Studio in Accra in the early 1950s and devoted his early photography to documenting critical social and political changes that animated the nation on the cusp of independence from Britain.

“In media, the focus on Africa shows poverty and underdevelopment, but Barnor’s photographs of Ghana, Africa from the 50s through the 70s shows us not all of Africa was underdeveloped,” Nii continued. “It was a vibrant community that consisted of doctors, lawyers, teachers and more. The exhibition has displayed there is a lot more to learn about the country and culture.”

“DTE Foundation’s collaboration with the museum is fundamental to the work we do in helping each visitor find personal meaning in art,” said Rosemarie Gleason, director of Development at the DIA. “Not only do they invest in our programmatic and exhibition work, but they have also significantly invested in the Grand Bargain. We’re grateful to work with the DTE Foundation so community members can enjoy and learn about incredible exhibitions like James Barnor’s.”