Associate Professor Rebekah Modrak has launched RETHINK SHINOLA, a new artwork critiquing the branding messages publicized by the company Shinola. Shinola’s name is “a nod” to the former shoe polish company that promoted their product using racist caricatures of African Americans. The “new” Shinola planted itself in Detroit and leverages and profiteers from the extreme conditions and image of the city. It creates representations of Patriarchal whiteness to enforce perceptions of their “leadership,” and circulates images of Black employees being grateful for this so-called governance.
RETHINK SHINOLA is meant to be viewed on larger browser windows, and is not visible on cell phones or small tablets.
Several members of the Stamps community assisted Modrak with this work. Current Stamps student Beth Reeck and Stamps alums Hayden Nickel, Abby Clemens, Sophie Goldberg, and Sarah Posner worked on stills for the “Implicit Jacques Panis on Shinola’s Quest to Revive American Manufacturing” video, and alum Joey Ostrander filmed and edited the videos. Current MFA student Masimba Hwati is contributing to writing about the project. Assistant Professor of Theater at the University of Michigan, Rob Najarian, performed the role of Jacques Panis for The Shinola Lecture.