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Bryan Keith Thomas's Art Honors Black Southern Culture And Spirituality

courtesy of Bryan Keith Thomas
Bryan Keith Thomas headshot

Artist Bryan Keith Thomas pays homage to Black Southern culture and Black ancestry in his work. In this interview, he talks about the spiritual meaning behind his art.

"Part of my work is to go get my folks. I'm going to get you and I'm going to liberate you. I'm going to free you forever."

Thomas grew up in Dyersburg, Tenn. The small town had a great influence on him as an artist. Thomas’ art has been featured around the country and abroad — including in U.S. embassies. Former First Lady Laura Bush recognized his work. 

Thomas lives in Oakland and teaches at the California College of the Arts. Currently, his art is on display at the de Young Museum’s Open exhibit in San Francisco. Since the museum is closed due to COVID, see Bryan Keith Thomas’ piece “Black Roots” virtually. Check out more of Thomas’ work on Instagram.

Click the play button above to listen.

Crosscurrents Sights & Sounds
Jeneé Darden is an award-winning journalist, author, public speaker and proud Oakland native. She is the executive producer and host of the weekly arts segment Sights & Sounds as well as the series Sights + Sounds Magazine. Jeneé also covers East Oakland for KALW. Jeneé has reported for NPR, Marketplace, KQED, KPCC, The Los Angeles Times, Ebony magazine, Refinery29 and other outlets. In 2005, she reported on the London transit bombings for Time magazine. Prior to coming to KALW, she hosted the podcast Mental Health and Wellness Radio.