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Souls Grown Deep like the Rivers

Black Artists from the American South

17 March — 18 June 2023

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Discover the Black artists from America’s South who created some of the most spectacular and ingenious works of the last century.

For generations, Black artists from the American South have forged a unique art tradition. Working in near isolation from established practices, they have created masterpieces that articulate America’s painful past – the inhuman practice of enslavement, the cruel segregationist policies of the Jim Crow era, and institutionalised racism.

Souls Grown Deep like the Rivers brings together sculpture, paintings, reliefs, drawings, and quilts, most of which will be seen in the UK and Europe for the first time. It will also feature the celebrated quiltmakers of Gee’s Bend, Alabama and the neighbouring communities of Rehoboth and Alberta.

Made from the materials available locally, like clay, driftwood, roots, soil, recycled and cast-off objects, the works range from the early 20th century to today. Many respond to issues that are global in nature: from economic inequality, oppression and social marginalisation, to sexuality, the influence of place and ancestral memory.

Artists include Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley, Ronald Lockett, Hawkins Bolden, Bessie Harvey, Charles Williams, Mary T. Smith, Purvis Young, Mose Tolliver, Nellie Mae Rowe, Mary Lee Bendolph, Marlene Bennett Jones, Martha Jane Pettway, Loretta Pettway, and Henry and Georgia Speller.

Exhibition organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London in collaboration with Souls Grown Deep Foundation, Atlanta.

Our Friends preview days take place 15 March, 10am–6pm, and 16 March, 10am–9pm.

#RASoulsGrownDeep

17 March — 18 June 2023

Tues–Sun: 10am–6pm

Tickets £15 (£13 without donation). Concessions available. Become a Friend of the RA and see all our exhibitions for free.

The Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts

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