Artist Lecture: Lava Thomas

Wednesday, Febraury 9, 2022 | 7:00 PM PST
Presented by the Mills College Art Museum

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Join Mills College Art Museum for an artist lecture with Lava Thomas, a Berkeley-based, multidisciplinary artist whose practice centers visibility, healing, and empowerment in the face of erasure, trauma, and oppression.

Thomas is featured in MCAM’s exhibition Personal to Political: Celebrating the African American Artists of the Paulson Fontaine Press, on view from January 22 – March 13, 2022.

About the Artist

Lava Thomas tackles issues of race, gender, representation and memorialization through a multidisciplinary practice that spans drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, and site-specific installations. Drawing from her family’s Southern roots, current and historical socio-political events, intersectional feminism and African American protest and devotional traditions, Thomas’ practice centers ideas that amplify visibility, healing, and empowerment in the face of erasure, trauma, and oppression.

Born in Los Angeles, CA, she studied at UCLA’s School of Art Practice and received a BFA from California College of the Arts. Thomas is a recipient of the 2021 Academy of Arts and Lectures Purchase Prize, the 2020 San Francisco Artadia Award, and a 2019-2021 Lucas Artists Fellowship at Montalvo Arts Center. Thomas has participated in artist residencies at Facebook Los Angeles (2020), Headlands Center for the Arts (2018), and the Djerassi Resident Artist Program. In 2015, she received the Joan Mitchell Grant for Painters and Sculptors. 

Thomas’s work is included in the National Portrait Gallery’s triennial exhibition The Outsin 2019: American Portraiture Today. Her work has been exhibited in various institutions including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; the International Print Center, New York, NY; the Museum of the African Diaspora and the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, CA; and the California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA. Her work is held in the permanent collections of the United States Consulate General in Johannesburg, South Africa; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the M.H. de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA; and the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, CA. 

IMAGE: (L) Lava Thomas; (R) Lava Thomas, Fictitious Self-Portrait, 2006, Color hard ground etching, 33.5 in x 32 in.

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