Listen to the playlist that influenced artist Bakpak Durden’s Playground exhibit in Detroit



in the groove is CultureShift’s award-winning series that talks with creatives from all walks of life about the music that most influenced them as a child.


Through their works, Bakpak Durden wishes to invite people to their homes.

The painter, whose work revolves around their lived experience shaped by race, gender, and mental and physical health, often chooses himself as a model or subject in his hyperrealistic work. When asked why, they say the easy answer is because they are available, but it goes beyond that.

It is also a way of not projecting my own feelings or emotions on another person or another being. So I try to invite people to put themselves in my shoes, ”explains Durden, whose first name dates back to their teenage years at Burn Rubber in Royal Oak where the workers nicknamed them“ Backpack ”.

Durden’s personal exhibition I feel like I’ve been here before, which opened to the public last month at Playground Detroit, explores perspective, neurodivergence, and intersectional identity. The series of paintings looks at specific experiences that people face in order to maintain a sense of “normalcy”.

Durden shared a few leads that influenced the show.

I love music first and foremost, ”says Durden.


Listen: Bakpak Durden shares his playlist.


Death – “The Change”

Durden says Detroit-based rock band The Death mixed up different styles, “taking something and making it better, different.” The track “The Change” is a nod to someone who is very important to them.

Alt-J – Tesselate

The British indie rock group makes “music about movies, art history, then weaves math and science.” And little gems and secrets. I like it all. That’s what I do.”

Tkay Maidza – Where is my mind

The Australian singer-rapper synthesized cover of the Pixies’ alternative rock classic “Where Is My Mind?” “Fight Club” reminds Durden. “And I love the ‘Fight Club’. “

Moses Sumney – Cut Me Off

For Durden, Moses Sumney’s latest album “was everything”. “It touched on multiplicity, homosexuality, darkness, sanity – all the things that I tried to focus on in my own work.”

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