Portrait drawing by Lava Thomas

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.

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

Selected Work

Artist News

Artist Talk

Studio Lecture Series: Lava Thomas

Stanford, Department of Art & Art History

November 2, 2023 | 5:30 – 7:00pm

Exhibition Catalog

Lava Thomas: Homecoming

Published in conjunction with the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts exhibition. Essay by Bridget R. Cooks. 

Group Exhibition

Berkeley Museum and Pacific Film Archive

What Has Been and What Could Be

June 7, 2023–July 7, 2024


Black and white drawn portrait of a mug shot by Lava Thomas
Group Exhibition

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Mugshot Portraits: Women of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Eurett F. Adair [in the Smithsonian’s permanent collection, gift of Cheryl and Charles Ward] is on view in the ongoing exhibition Reckoning: Protest. Defiance. Resilience. 

More Info

Past Exhibition Catalog


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


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