The Philadelphia Museum of Art is expanding its collection with pieces of work created by Black artists, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
This institution is adding 24 new pieces of artwork across different mediums that were developed by self-taught Black southern artists. Among the pieces are steel structures created by Thornton Dial, a carpenter and steelworker who hailed from Bessemer, Alabama. His three pieces—which were created between the years of 1992 and 2004—capture his views surrounding slavery, racism, politics and other pressing issues within our country. The collection also includes more than a dozen intricate quilts created by generations of women from a small neighborhood outside of Selma. They were constructed between the years of 1930 and 2005.
According to the source, all of the pieces are from a vast collection of art compiled by the Souls Grown Deep Foundation in Atlanta. The organization is dedicated to preserving pieces created by Black artists from the South in efforts to illustrate how their work was intertwined in the fabric of Black history.
Leadership at the Philadelphia Museum of Art expressed humility at harboring the pieces as it introduces people to unsung narratives surrounding self-taught Black artists from the rural south. “I think it’s a spectacular addition to the collection and another piece to add to our growing holdings of work by self-taught artists,” Timothy Rub, Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, said in a statement. The work will allow individuals to learn more about the historical contributions that Black artists made to the larger landscape of American art, said Maxwell L. Anderson, Head of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. “Partnering with the PMA and a growing number of other museums will ensure that the work and history of these artists is accessible to a broad audience,” he said.
For generations, Black artists have used their craft as a way to express their views on racial issues. Last month, a South London-based digital artist reinterpreted Vincent van Gogh’s work with the faces of Black women to visually defy the stereotypes that society places on them.