Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power

Exhibition, Tate Modern, London, UK.


From July 12, 2017 until October 22, 2017

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power is a rare opportunity to see era-defining artworks that changed the face of art in America.

Featuring more than 150 works by over 60 artists, this is a timely opportunity to see how American cultural identity was re-shaped during a period of social unrest and political struggle. From 1963 to 1983, when iconic figures like Aretha Franklin, Muhammad Ali, and Toni Morrison were making race and identity major issues in American music, sport, and literature, what did it mean to be a Black artist in the USA? During the Civil Rights movement and at the birth of Black Power, what was art’s purpose and who was its audience?
Soul of a Nation explores how such issues played out among and beyond African-American artists through a stunning selection of vibrant paintings, photographs, prints, and sculptures. 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.