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3 Southern Black Art Books to Explore

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Photo by Captured by Caitlin Rose Art by Sonja Griffin Evans

I adore collecting books and art and combining those two loves make me even happier. If you love southern black art, here are 3 3 Southern Black Art Books to Explore and add to your holiday gift list or personal collection. Be sure to share images of your favorite books with using the hashtag #blacksouthernbelle

3 Southern Black Art Books to Explore

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Revelations: Art from the African American South

This gorgeous volume explores 62 extraordinary works by 22 contemporary African American artists, revealing a crucial chapter in the story of American art.

While the self-taught artists featured in this groundbreaking catalog were born in the Jim Crow period of institutionalized racism, their works embody the promise and attainment of freedom in the modern Civil Rights era and address some of the most profound and persistent issues in American society, including race, class, gender, and spirituality. Originally created as expressions of individual identity and communal solidarity, these eloquent objects are powerful testaments to the continuity and survival of African American culture. This gorgeous book features lush illustrations of works by artists such as Thornton Dial, Bessie Harvey, Purvis Young, and the Gee’s Bend quilters–including Gearldine Westbrook, Jessie T. Pettway, and more–and presents a series of insightful essays.

My Soul Has Grown Deep: Black Art from the American South

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A new consideration of extraordinary art created by Black artists during the mid-20th century

My Soul Has Grown Deep considers the art-historical significance of contemporary Black artists working throughout the southeastern United States. These paintings, drawings, mixed-media compositions, sculptures, and textiles include pieces ranging from the profound assemblages of Thornton Dial to the renowned quilts of Gee’s Bend. Nearly 60 remarkable examples are illustrated alongside insightful texts that situate them in the history of modernism and the context of African American experience in the 20th-century South. This remarkable study simultaneously considers these works on their own merits while also making connections to mainstream contemporary art.

Art historians Cheryl Finley, Randall R. Griffey, and Amelia Peck illuminate shared artistic practices, including the novel use of found or salvaged materials and the artists’ interest in improvisational approaches across media. Novelist and essayist Darryl Pinckney provides a thoughtful consideration of the cultural and political history of the American South, during and after the Civil Rights era. These diverse works, described and beautifully illustrated, tell the compelling stories of artists who overcame enormous obstacles to create distinctive and culturally resonant works of art.

Gullah Images: The Art of Jonathan Green

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In his art Jonathan Green paints the world of his childhood and an ode to a people imbued with a profound respect for the dignity and value of others – the Gullah people of the South Carolina barrier islands. His vibrant canvases, beloved for their sense of jubilation and rediscovery, evoke the meaning of community in Gullah society and display a reverence for the rich visual, oral, and spiritual traditions of its culture. His art reveals a keen awareness of the interpersonal, social, and natural environments in which we live.

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Michiel Perry

Michiel is a Black Southern Belle living a lowcountry life. I love all things fashion, home decor and southern! When I am not running around doing fun stuff for Black Southern Belle, I live in antique stores and have a minor obsession with historic homes 🙂

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