Tate Modern Exhibition

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power

Barkley L. Hendricks Icon for My Man Superman (Superman Never Saved any Black People – Bobby Seale) 1969 Collection of Liz and Eric Lefkofsky © Estate of Barkley L. Hendricks. Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Superman S-Shield © & ™ DC Comics. Used with permission​ 

Soul of a Nation shines a bright light on the vital contribution of Black artists to a dramatic period in American art and history

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The show opens in 1963 at the height of the Civil Rights movement and its dreams of integration. In its wake emerged more militant calls for Black Power: a rallying cry for African American pride, autonomy and solidarity, drawing inspiration from newly independent African nations. 

Artists responded to these times by provoking, confronting, and confounding expectations. Their momentum makes for an electrifying visual journey. Vibrant paintings, powerful murals, collage, photography, revolutionary clothing designs and sculptures made with Black hair, melted records, and tights – the variety of artworks reflects the many viewpoints of artists and collectives at work during these explosive times.  

Some engage with legendary figures from the period, with paintings in homage to political leaders Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Angela Davis, musician John Coltrane and sporting hero Jack Johnson. Muhammad Ali appears in Andy Warhol’s famous painting.  

This landmark exhibition is a rare opportunity to see era-defining artworks that changed the face of art in America.

Benny Andrews Did the Bear Sit Under a Tree 1969 Emanuel Collection © Estate of Benny AndrewsDACS, LondonVAGA, NY

Benny Andrews Did the Bear Sit Under a Tree 1969 Emanuel Collection © Estate of Benny Andrews/DACS, London/VAGA, NY

-	Carolyn Mims Lawrence Black Children Keep Your Spirits Free 1972 Collection & © Carolyn Mims Lawrence

Carolyn Mims Lawrence Black Children Keep Your Spirits Free 1972 Collection & © Carolyn Mims Lawrence

-	William T. Williams Trane 1969 Studio Museum in Harlem (New York, USA) © William T. Williams; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY

William T. Williams Trane 1969 Studio Museum in Harlem (New York, USA) © William T. Williams; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY

-	Betye Saar Eye 1972 Collection of Sheila Silver and David Limburger © Betye Saar. Courtesy of the Artist and Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, California.  Photo Robert Wedemeyer

Betye Saar Eye 1972 Collection of Sheila Silver and David Limburger © Betye Saar. Courtesy of the Artist and Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, California. Photo Robert Wedemeyer

Tate Modern

Bankside
London SE1 9TG
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Dates

12 July – 22 October 2017

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Find out more

Exhibition Guide

The Sound of a Nation

Read about each room of the exhibition, explore footage of political figures and listen to the curators’s playlist

Art Term

Black arts movement

An ideological movement that emerged in the USA in the early 1960s

Art Term

Black Audio Film Collective

A pioneering arts initiative founded in 1982

Art Term

British black arts movement

A radical political art movement founded in 1982

Shop

Soul of a Nation LP

This album has been released by Soul Jazz Records to coincide with our Soul of a Nation exhibition

£25.99

Pittsburgh Memory bag

This large cotton tote bag features an image of Romare Bearden’s distinctive collage, Pittsburgh Memory, 1964

£20

Wadsworth Jarrell Revolutionary (signed poster)

This limited edition poster of Revolutionary, 1972, is signed by artist Wadsworth Jarrell

£50