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Whitfield Lovell: Deep River


Whitfield Lovell is internationally renowned for his installations that incorporate masterful Conté crayon likenesses of African Americans from between the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil Rights Movement. Using vintage photography as his source, Lovell often pairs his subjects with found objects, evoking personal memories, ancestral connections and the collective American past.

Whitfield Lovell: Deep River compiles stunning likenesses of anonymous African American citizens from Lovell’s celebrated Deep River installation, which pays homage to “Camp Contraband”—a Union Army site near Chattanooga, Tennessee, that served as a refuge for runaway slaves escaping the Confederate South during the Civil War. The book includes a preface by Kellie Jones and an accompanying essay by the scholar Julie L. McGee, which provides the historical context for these deeply resonant portraits highlighted in this publication. McGee writes: “Lovell’s artistry is a vessel for those ancestral spirits that remain near and communicate with those who are able to make the past tangible, accessible and acutely meaningful.”

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