Souls Grown Deep like the Rivers

Royal Academy of Arts, London
March 17–June 18, 2023

Taking its name from a Langston Hughes poem, this show tells the stories of Black artists working in the American South, including names that have received major acclaim in recent years like Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley, Nellie Mae Rowe, and Purvis Young. Many of these artists were self-taught, and their experimental practices frequently combined craft traditions, passed down through generations, with found materials to address pressing subjects, such as the relentless persecution and systemic racism faced by Black communities in the South. Interwoven with these are works that record the joys and hardships of everyday life. The show has been organized by the Atlanta-based Souls Grown Deep Foundation, which promotes Black artists from the South and seeks to support their local communities.

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