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Cosmologies from the Tree of Life

  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts 200 North Arthur Ashe Boulevard Richmond, VA, 23220 United States (map)

As embodiments of the African American experience and cultural legacies, the works of art featured in Cosmologies from the Tree of Life: Art from the African American South are rooted in African aesthetic legacies, familial tradition, and communal ethos. Previously marginalized as “folk or self-taught” art, they now take their rightful place as significant contributors to the canon of American Modernism. As artists, they imbued their works with a sense of individualistic style, yet they often embraced shared narratives that spoke to cultural, familial, and communal preoccupations. Employing an impressive breadth of media, the works in Cosmologies from the Tree of Life celebrate their imprint in sculpture, quilting, painting, and works on paper. This exhibition’s works of art were acquired by VMFA from the Atlanta-based Souls Grown Deep Foundation an organization whose mission it is to showcase works by African American artists from the South. Artists featured in VMFA’s exhibition include Jessie Aaron, Louisiana Bendolph, Thornton Dial, Lonnie B. Holley, Ronald Lockett, Rita Mae Pettway, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, James “Son” Thomas, Mose Tolliver, Purvis Young, and others. An impressive selection of quilts display the unique artistry of the famed multigenerational group of quilt-making women in Gee’s Bend, Alabama.

Earlier Event: June 7
Ronald Walton "The Artist"
Later Event: June 13
Summer Steals