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Thornton Dial, American, 1928-2016. Royal Flag, 1997-1998, American flag, toy doll, toy bull, string, fabric, industrial sealing compound, oil, enamel, spray paint on canvas mounted on wood. The Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Fund and Gif of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection 2019.16.8

In the Presence of Our Ancestors: Southern Perspectives in African American Art

September 5, 2020 - April 11, 2021
Cargill Gallery
Free Exhibition

Black artists of the American South have created art to honor their collective histories, experiences, and spiritual communities, solidifying their impact on the art world for decades to come.

Inspired by sculptor Joe Minter’s quotation referencing “art in the presence of 100,000 African Ancestors,” the exhibition “In the Presence of Our Ancestors: Southern Perspectives in African American Art” bridges North and South in a debut of newly acquired gifts from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. Featuring 22 works, including an assemblage by Thornton Dial, sculpture by Joe Minter, and quilts by celebrated Gee’s Bend artists Lottie Mooney and Lola Pettway, this exhibition explores themes of origin, communal ritual, foresight, and spiritual reflection. These themes intersect to honor Black artistry, transcending the silos of lower and higher art, and rightfully establishing these creators as artists of our time.

Thornton Dial, American, 1928-2016. Royal Flag, 1997-1998, American flag, toy doll, toy bull, string, fabric, industrial sealing compound, oil, enamel, spray paint on canvas mounted on wood. The Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Fund and Gif of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection 2019.16.8