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Souls Grown Deep Like the Rivers

Souls Grown Deep Like the Rivers

Black Artists from the American South

Various Authors
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A wide-ranging survey of Black art in the American South, from Thornton Dial and Nellie Mae Rowe to the quilters of Gee’s Bend

For generations, Black artists from the American South have forged a unique art tradition. Working in near isolation from established practices, they have created masterpieces in clay, driftwood, roots, soil, and recycled and cast-off objects that articulate America’s painful past―the inhuman practice of enslavement, the cruel segregationist policies of the Jim Crow era and institutionalized racism. Their works respond to issues ranging from economic inequality, oppression and social marginalization to sexuality, the influence of place and ancestral memory.
Among the sculptures, paintings, reliefs and drawings included here―the majority from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation in Atlanta―are works by Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley, Ronald Lockett, Hawkins Bolden, Bessie Harvey, Charles Williams, Mary T. Smith, Purvis Young, Mose Tolliver, Nellie Mae Rowe, Mary Lee Bendolph, Marlene Bennett Jones, Martha Jane Pettway, Loretta Pettway and Henry and Georgia Speller. Also featured are the celebrated quiltmakers of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, and work from the neighboring communities of Rehoboth and Alberta.


Maxwell L. Anderson is an American art historian, museum director, author, and non-profit executive, who currently serves as President of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. Anderson served as director of the Indianapolis Museum of Art from 2006 to 2011 and the Dallas Museum of Art from 2011 to 2015.


  • Publisher: ‎Royal Academy of Arts (May 9, 2023)
  • Language: ‎English
  • Hardcover: ‎141 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎1912520958
  • ISBN-13: ‎9781912520954
  • Item Weight: ‎1.6 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎7.5 x 0.75 x 10 inches
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