In the Presence of Our Ancestors: Southern Perspectives in African American Art

Minneapolis Institute of Art
December 12, 2020 to April 11, 2021

Black artists of the American South have created art to honor their collective histories, experiences, and spiritual communities, solidifying their impact on the art world for decades to come.

Inspired by sculptor Joe Minter’s quotation referencing “art in the presence of 100,000 African Ancestors,” the exhibition “In the Presence of Our Ancestors: Southern Perspectives in African American Art” bridges North and South in a debut of newly acquired gifts from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. Featuring 22 works, including an assemblage by Thornton Dial, sculpture by Joe Minter, and quilts by celebrated Gee’s Bend artists Lottie Mooney and Lola Pettway, this exhibition explores themes of origin, communal ritual, foresight, and spiritual reflection. These themes intersect to honor Black artistry, transcending the silos of lower and higher art, and rightfully establishing these creators as artists of our time.