Over the last decade, the legendary auto-mobile capital of the world has seen its fair share of hardships; be it political corruption and rampant gang violence or mass vandalism and property destruction, Detroit; the most human city despite its troubles continues to grow, adapt and live. Testament to Detroit’s resilience is the inspiring local art program The Heidelberg Project.
The Heidelberg Project was created in 1986 by artist Tyree Guyton, and has since stood as a living testament to the stubbornness of Detroit. Its creation was wrought by taking the abandoned buildings that littered a rough neighbourhood and decorating them with knick-knacks, junk and paint of vibrant colours. Having changed the nature of the surrounding ghetto and its inhabitants for the better; Heidelberg, similar to its native city, has had its fair share of problems. In the past year alone more than five of these transformed houses have been set aflame, with all sources pointing to arson. Jenenne Whitfield, executive director of the project, knows too well why this might be: “It tells you what times we are living in, you know Detroit is a city that is still burning in more than one way, and you got some very angry people that are hurting here.
Words and photos by Samuel Trotter