Wake Up Our Souls by Wake Up Our Souls
Harry N. Abrams/Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2004, 128 pp., $24.95
More than 30 black American artists whose works span from the late 18th century to the present are profiled in this colorful and informative compilation, published in association with the Smithsonian Art Museum.
The approximately 45 reproduced works reflect a wide range of mediums (e.g. photography, painting), styles (realism to abstraction), and subjects (people, nature, etc.), and are accompanied by extended, descriptive captions.
The artists’ artworks are distributed among three chapters, with each containing information about the profiled artists’ lives and works along with the notable historical events of their eras, effectively highlighting black Americans’ priceless contributions to the visual arts.
Although the text is clearly geared toward middle-level students, older readers would also find it appealing, albeit with a longer, more comprehensive narrative. Also featured are a glossary, notes, bibliography, and reading list, each extensive and current. This interesting, focused compilation is a significant tribute to black artists and would be valuable to art, English, and social studies classes, perhaps inviting shared units of study.
Lisa A. Hazlett