Read: ‘Interrogate the World as It Is and Imagine How It Could Be’: Four Trailblazing Artists in ‘Soul of a Nation’ Discuss the Show and Their Careers

From ARTnews —Andrew Russeth, Executive Editor:

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SMITH’S SYMMETRY ON THE IVORY COAST, ABIJAN, IVORY COAST (CA. 1972).

Shirley Nwangwa recently spoke with four of the artists whose work appears in the show—William T. Williams, Senga Nengudi, Ming Smith, and Betye Saar. Among the great lines from these interviews is this one from Williams, concerning what art can do:

Art has been really important to me, given where I started from—which is the rural South. It’s very hard sometimes for people to fathom that I grew up in a house where there was no running water, there was no indoor plumbing. This is back in the ’40s. There were no paved roads. Certainly no electric. A really different experience than now. I think art has the power to change people. And when I say art, I’m including all the arts—music, painting, dance, whatever it may be. It has a power to change societies.

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