Lava Thomas

Lava Thomas tackles issues of race, gender, representation and memorialization through a multidisciplinary practice that spans drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, and site-specific installations. Drawing from her family’s Southern roots, current socio-political events, intersectional feminism and African American protest and devotional traditions, Thomas’s practice centers ideas that amplify visibility, healing, and empowerment in the face of erasure, trauma and oppression.

Play Video
Meet the Artist: Lava Thomas on "Requiem for Charleston" presented by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, November 2017

Artist News


American Academy of Arts and Letters

Work from Thomas’ series Mugshot Portraits: Women of the Montgomery Bus Boycott has been selected for inclusion in the American Academy of Arts and Letters Art Purchase Program

More info HERE


“Lava Thomas speaks out: A candid interview with the artist on saga of S.F.’s Maya Angelou monument”

Read the SF Chronicle interview with George McCalman HERE

Group Exhibition

The Black Index

Presented by UC Irvine University Art Gallery. Curated by Bridget R. Cookes. [Traveling through 2022]

Now on view ONLINE

PRESS: LA Weekly
PRESS: Hyperallergic


Lava Thomas Included in YBCA 100

YBCA 100 is “an annual list that celebrates the everyday heroes—artists, activists, and community leaders—for their extraordinary commitment to building sustainable, equitable, and regenerative communities.”

View all honorees HERE

Group Exhibition

Deeds Not Words: Women Working for Change

Sun Valley Museum of Art, Ketchum, ID

Through April 26, 2021

Exhibition info HERE

Selected Work

Past Exhibition Catalog


In Conversation: Lava Thomas + Hung Liu, October 9, 2020
Lava Thomas: In the Artist's Studio, June 17, 2020