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

Installation of several blue tambourines on a wall
Group Exhibition

Resting Our Eyes

ICA San Francisco
January 21 – June 25, 2023

PRESS: The Cut
PRESS: Vanity Fair
PRESS: W Magazine


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. 

Logo for the Monument Lab podcast

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

Interview with Paul Farber 

Listen HERE

Screenshot of press for artist Lava Thomasx
Recent Press


“Lava Thomas’ new exhibition ‘Homecoming’ centers on Black History at the Spelman Museum of Fine Art” – City Lights with Lois Reitzes

Read + Listen HERE

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