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Wake Up Our Souls: A Celebration of Black American Artists

by Tonya Bolden

Published by Harry N. Abrams, 2004
128 pages
ISBN: 0-8109-4527-4

Age 11-16

Tonya Bolden provides a dynamic introduction to a wide range of Black American artists in a volume that is visually dazzling and intellectually stimulating. Bolden has chosen artists to represent "a range of human experiences and mediums used." Each chapter explores a selection of artists as the narrative moves chronologically from the late 18th century to contemporary times. Rather than creating biographical profiles for each artist, Bolden has woven elements of their life story into her exploration of the art created during each period in the history of African American art that she outlines. She examines the lives of selected artists more fully in sidebars. She also provides thoughtful narratives about the works of art reproduced in the volume, encouraging readers to think about the connections between art and life. Among the works of art shown is a photograph of Augusta Savage's marvelous sculpture "Lift Every Voice and Sing," created for the 1939 World's Fair. It was destroyed after the fair, along with the temporary building in which it had been housed, because Savage did not have the resources to move and store her monumental work. That story alone underscores the importance of this volume that introduces young adults to important voices and visions in African American art and history. (MS) 2004 Cooperative Children's Book Center

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