Cosmologies from the Tree of Life: Art from the African American South

Timed to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans in Virginia in 1619, this special exhibition celebrates the extraordinary contributions that African American artists have made to art and culture since that time. The exhibition will include paintings, sculptures, installations, drawings and quilts from the VMFA’s permanent collection and will feature recent acquisitions of works by contemporary African American artists from the Southern U.S. The cultural origins of these artworks can be traced back to the African Diaspora, slavery, and the Jim Crow era of institutionalized racism. Working with little or no formal training, and often employing cast-off objects and unconventional materials, artists created visually compelling works that address some of the most profound and persistent issues in American society, including race, class, gender, and religion. This exhibit will reflect the Commonwealth’s and nation’s historical diversity and complexity, cornerstones of the 2019 Commemoration.

Explore art and artists of the African American South with VMFA Curator Valerie Cassel Oliver during a lecture on Thursday, June 6 at 6:30 pm in the Leslie Cheek Theater. Her lecture includes an overview of works from the exhibition, Cosmologies from the Tree of Life: Art from the African American South, which features compelling new acquisitions from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. Read more at  https://www.vmfa.museum/calendar/events/cosmologies/

RELATED EVENTS

ART HISTORY CLASS | The Geography of Meaning and Aesthetics in African American Art of the South
Ramona Austin, Curator, Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries, Old Dominion University
Tue, Jul 16 | 1–2:30 pm $30 ($25 VMFA members)

TALK | Cosmologies from the Tree of Life: Art from the African American South
Valerie Cassel Oliver, Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, VMFA
Thu, Jun 6 | 6:30–7:30 pm
$8 ($5 VMFA members)

GALLERY PROGRAM | 3 in 30: Aesthetics of the African American South
Izzie Fuqua, Adult Programs Coordinator
Tue, Sep 3 | 11–11:30 am or Thu, Sep 5 | 6:30–7 pm
Free

EVENT DETAILS


Event Type: Exhibitions

Start Date: June 8, 2019

End Date: November 17, 2019

Time: Museum Hours

Venue: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Richmond, VA



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American Evolution events and programs include a series of extraordinary projects ranging from special exhibitions, documentary film, scholarly works, interpretive centers, and digital applications to reinforce 1619 history, commemoration themes and Virginia’s role in the creation of the United States and its ongoing leadership in education, tourism, and economic development