Faith Ringgold, The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles, 1996, Nine-color lithograph, 22" x 30", Polk Museum of Art Permanent Collection 1997.17, Museum Purchase through the General Acquisition Fund, Faith Ringgold © 1996

March 7 – August 16, 2015

Perkins Gallery

African American culture is embedded in a rich and complex history. It is impossible to deny the influence African American culture has had on the progressive nature of the American condition or how it has profoundly shaped the modern American identity. It has assisted in exposing the murkiest corners of American history while helping to reform our collective consciousness as we mature into that proverbial American melting pot. African American culture is a profound part of the shared American culture that goes much deeper than the color of skin.

Contemporary African American artists contribute to the growing lexicon of their unique culture as it becomes ever more tightly fused with the American spirit. Artworks and the associated commentary made by these artists prove impactful on our perpetually evolving social environment. They keep the past evident and preserve those important pieces of a past that we do not boast. But, they also celebrate cultural heritage and inform the forward motion of contemporary American society.

As an addendum to the anticipated exhibition African American Art Since 1950: Perspectives from the David C. Driskell Center, Polk Museum of Art celebrates African American culture by presenting a sampling of works from its Permanent Collection. Works by contemporary African American artists are mixed with traditional objects from Africa to provide a well-rounded understanding of a resonant and constructive culture.