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

Solo Museum Exhibition

Lava Thomas: Homecoming [traveling]

Now on view @ Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, August 17 – December 9, 2022


Virtual Exhibition 

Exhibition Catalog

Group Exhibition

2022 FotoFocus Biennial: World Record

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati, OH 

In the exhibition ‘Free as they want to be: Artists Committed to Memory,’ curated by Deborah Willis

September 30, 2022 – March 6, 2023

Exhibition Catalog

Lava Thomas: Homecoming

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

Installation view of Lava Thomas at the Contemporary Jewish Museum
Group Exhibition

Tikkun: For the Cosmos, the Community, and Ourselves

Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco

February 17, 2022 – January 8, 2023

Logo for the Monument Lab podcast

“Building a Monument for Dr. Maya Angelou with Lava Thomas”

Interview with Paul Farber 

Listen HERE

Magazine feature on artist Lava Thomas
Recent Press

Alta Magazine

“Drawing on personal and national histories, Lava Thomas’s art centers the experiences of many Black Americans.” By Faith Adiele


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