Unity, a towering 118-foot-by-50-foot mural by Charles McGee, is located on the north elevation of 28 Grand in Downtown Detroit. The artist states that his ambition for the mural is to reach new audiences, and that he has further plans for public installations in the future.

“I felt if I could use black and white, which is the greatest combination of opposites, it would speak the strongest language and I could speak it,” McGee says of the mural. “I feel if I’m going to put it out there, I want it to be strong.”

The mural is a sweeping vision in black and white - a mix of polka dots, curved lines and various geometric shapes that harken to the artist’s earlier work in downtown Detroit, but this time McGee uses organic shapes and stark contrast where he once used geometry and vivid color. The work speaks to the demonstration of community and togetherness through the use of seemingly distinct and incongruent shapes.

Charles McGee was born in 1924 and has lived in Detroit since the age of 10. His works are on permanent display at the Detroit Institute of the Arts and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Nationally, his work has shown at the Brooklyn Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art and in touring exhibitions under the umbrella of the Smithsonian and Corcoran Gallery of Art of Washington D.C.

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