Soul of a Nation shines a bright light on the vital contribution of Black artists to a dramatic period in American art and history

Exhibition is on at the Tate London, from the 12th July – 22nd October 2017

The show opens in 1963 at the height of the Civil Rights movement and its dreams of integration. In its wake emerged more militant calls for Black Power: a rallying cry for African American pride, autonomy and solidarity, drawing inspiration from newly independent African nations.

Artists responded to these times by provoking, confronting, and confounding expectations. Their momentum makes for an electrifying visual journey. Vibrant paintings, powerful murals, collage, photography, revolutionary clothing designs and sculptures made with Black hair, melted records, and tights – the variety of artworks reflects the many viewpoints of artists and collectives at work during these explosive times.

Some engage with legendary figures from the period, with paintings in homage to political leaders Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Angela Davis, musician John Coltrane and sporting hero Jack Johnson. Muhammad Ali appears in Andy Warhol’s famous painting.

This landmark exhibition is a rare opportunity to see era-defining artworks that changed the face of art in America.

 

 

 

Benny Andrews Did the Bear Sit Under a Tree 1969 Emanuel Collection © Estate of Benny AndrewsDACS, LondonVAGA, NY
Benny Andrews Did the Bear Sit Under a Tree 1969 Emanuel Collection © Estate of Benny Andrews/DACS, London/VAGA, NY
- Carolyn Mims Lawrence Black Children Keep Your Spirits Free 1972 Collection & © Carolyn Mims Lawrence
Carolyn Mims Lawrence Black Children Keep Your Spirits Free 1972 Collection & © Carolyn Mims Lawrence
- William T. Williams Trane 1969 Studio Museum in Harlem (New York, USA) © William T. Williams; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY
William T. Williams Trane 1969 Studio Museum in Harlem (New York, USA) © William T. Williams; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY
Betye Saar Eye 1972 Collection of Sheila Silver and David Limburger © Betye Saar. Courtesy of the Artist and Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, California. Photo Robert Wedemeyer.
Betye Saar Eye 1972 Collection of Sheila Silver and David Limburger © Betye Saar. Courtesy of the Artist and Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, California. Photo Robert Wedemeyer.