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Billy Lee: Portrait in Tar
Providing History Paintings an African American Voice

Reimaging Traditions

Whose paintings are missing from the history books?


African American artists have examined and reimagined how history is told through their art. While artists of color have used creative works to convey historical and political messages throughout the last century, recent art exploring these themes has drastically increased as artists struggle to grapple with complex historical legacies. Artists have used painting, collage, and sculpture to expand people of color’s inclusion in historical narratives, including with the revision of traditional historical scenes, the expansion of the inclusion and portrayal of African Americans in art, and the celebration of famous African Americans overlooked in prior history scenes.

Explore the Exhibit

Revisiting Legends

Columbus Day Painting by Titus Kaphar

Examine artists retelling stories from American history through art with new perspectives.


Expanding the Landscape

George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware: Page from an American History Textbook by Robert Colescott

Explore creators empowering people of color by including them in influential events.


Celebrating Heroes

Souvenir I by Kerry James Marshall

Discover painters honoring famous African American leaders with their art.

Preview the Art
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