“Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963–1983” is an extraordinary exhibition that features work from mostly African-American artists. After opening at London’s Tate Modern in 2017 and making stops at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, the Brooklyn Museum in New York City, and the Broad Museum in Los Angeles, the show opened at San Francisco’s de Young Museum on November 9. The San Francisco exhibition includes an expanded selection of works by artists with connections to that city and the Bay Area.
Of all the images in the show, the one that inspires me the most is Wadsworth Jarrell’s beautiful 1972 portrait of Angela Y. Davis, entitled Revolutionary (Angela Davis). The image of Angela Davis stands out for me not just because we share the same name and both grew up in segregated Alabama during the 1950s, but because she inspired and influenced my path during a critical stage of my life.