A Picture Gallery of the Soul

A survey exhibition of over 100 Black American artists working with photography from the 19th through 21st centuries
A Black man looks directly at an old fashioned 1960's camera snapping a self-portrait.
Kwame Brathwaite
Untitled (Kwame Brathwaite Self Portrait at AJASS Studios), 1964 c., printed 2016
Archival pigment print, mounted and framed, 30 x 30 in, 76.2 x 76.2 cm.
Courtesy of the artist and Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles.
Photographic portrait of a young Black woman with bright red braids looks serenely at the camera as she tilts her head slightly to the side.
Salimah Ali (born 1954)
Dare (Portrait of Ugochi Egonu), 2019. Pigmented inkjet print.
Image 20 × 13 ³/₈ in. (50.8 × 34 cm), sheet 22 × 15 ³/₈ in. (55.9 × 39.1 cm).
Courtesy of the artist.
Six photographic images arranged in the shape of a cross feature a woman, at times standing or seated in a living room, in various garments and poses.
Anthony Barboza (born 1944)
Requiem of Rain, 2014. Pigmented digital prints.
Each image 16 ¼ × 23 in. (41.3 × 58.4 cm), each sheet 20 × 24 in. (50.8 × 61 cm).
Courtesy of the artist.
Lola Flash, DJ Kinky.
Lola Flash (born 1959), DJ Kinky, London, 2003. From the [sur]passing series.
Pigmented inkjet print from 4 × 5 film transparency, 60 × 48 in. (152.4 × 121.9 cm).
Courtesy of the artist.
Tintype photograph of a Black woman sitting with a baby on her lap with text written directly on the right side of the photograph.
Goodridge Brothers Studio (1847 – 1922)
Gertrude Watson Goodridge and William O. Goodridge, Jr., 1883.
Inscribed in plate: “age 3 months/Taken June 18, 1883/W. O. Goodridge Jr.” Tintype, 3 ⁷/₁₆ × 2 ½ in. (8.7 × 6.4 cm).
University of Minnesota Libraries, Department of Archives and Special Collections.
Photographic portrait of a Black woman in Elizabethan dress who appears to float against a black background with the ruffles of her dress in motion.
Ayana V. Jackson (born 1977)
Consider the Sky and the Sea, 2019. From the series Take Me to the Water.
Archival pigment print on German etching paper, 46 ⁷/₈ × 42 ⁷/₈ in. (119 × 109.04 cm).
Courtesy of Mariane Ibrahim.
Photographic image of the back of a Black state trooper overlooking a white supremacist group protesting in front of a government building in South Carolina. White supremacists actively wave the confederate flag and hold up pro Ku Klux Klan signs.
Stephen Marc (born 1954) Untitled (Columbia, South Carolina), 2015.
Digital photograph/inkjet print, 16 × 24 in. (40.6 × 61 cm).
Courtesy of the artist.
Portrait of a shirtless and masked Black father, with a large scar that runs down the length of his stomach, holds his son during a gathering at George Floyd Square the Minneapolis during the summer of 2020.
Nancy Musinguzi (born 1991)
Son of Sons, 2020.
Pigmented inkjet print, image 63 ½ × 42 in. (161.3 × 106.7 cm), sheet 63 ½ × 42 in. (161.3 × 106.7 cm).
Courtesy of the artist.
Photographic self-portrait of a Black woman from the nose down with bare shoulders who holds a sparkly polka dot fabric draped from her mouth to create a triangular shape that covers her body from view.
Keisha Scarville (born 1975)
Untitled, 2016. From the series Surrogate Skin.
Archival inkjet print, 36 × 30 in. (91.4 × 76.2 cm).
Courtesy of the artist and Higher Pictures Generation, New York.
Photographic portrait of Minnesota’s first African American lawyer, Frederick Lamar McGhee, dressed in a suit and bowtie.
Harry Shepherd (1856–?)
Frederick (or Fredrick) L. McGhee ( 1861–1912), ca. 1890.
Digital copy of cabinet photograph, 6 ¼ × 4 ¼ in. (15.9 × 10.8 cm).
Minnesota Historical Society. por 11265 r2.
Photographic portrait of African American conceptual artist David Hammons seen shirtless and bent over holding his hands together in his Los Angeles studio.
Bruce W. Talamon (born 1949)
David Hammons Slauson Avenue Studio, Los Angeles, 1974. From the Body Print Series. Digital gelatin silver print, image 20 × 16 in. (50.8 × 40.6 cm), sheet 24 × 20 in. (61 × 50.8 cm).
Copyright 2021 Bruce W. Talamon.
All Rights Reserved. Courtesy of the artist.
An array of layered photographs featuring an urban cityscape covered with advertisements including the 1999 “I am Nas” album cover featuring the Black musician wearing prosthetics and makeup to mimic the mask of Tutankhamun.
​​Shawn Walker (born 1940)
From Be-Bop to Illusion #1, 2010.
Pigmented inkjet print, image 12 ½ × 19 in. (31.8 × 48.3 cm), sheet 16 × 24 in. (40.6 × 61 cm).
Courtesy of the artist.

A Picture Gallery of the Soul

September 13 - December 10, 2022

The Katherine E. Nash Gallery presents A Picture Gallery of the Soul, a group exhibition of over 100 Black American artists whose practice incorporates the photographic medium. Sampling a range of photographic expressions from traditional photography to mixed media and conceptual art and spanning a timeframe that includes the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, the exhibition honors, celebrates, investigates, and interprets Black history, culture, and politics in the United States.

From the daguerreotypes made by Jules Lion in New Orleans in 1840 to the Instagram post of the Baltimore Uprising made by Devin Allen in 2015, photography has chronicled Black American life and Black Americans have defined the possibilities of photography. Frederick Douglass, a former enslaved person, and nationally prominent abolitionist recognized the quick, easy and inexpensive reproducibility of photography. He presciently developed a theoretical framework for understanding the implications of photography on public discourse in a series of four lectures. The exhibition title comes from Douglass' Lecture on Pictures, delivered in Boston in 1861 during the Civil War.

Past Events

Keynote Address with Professor Deborah Willis

On September 15, 2022, Professor Deborah Willis delivered this Keynote Address to open the exhibition A Picture Gallery of the Soul. Deborah Willis is Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts and Director of the Institute for African American Affairs and Center for Black Visual Culture at New York University.

Public Program with Exhibition Curators & Guest Speakers

On September 22, the University of Minnesota Department of Art and the Katherine E. Nash Gallery hosted a public program related to the exhibition A Picture Gallery of the Soul. The program included remarks from the exhibition's curators Nash Gallery Director Howard Oransky and Herman J. Milligan, Jr.; a presentation titled Mining the Archive of Black Life and Culture by Professor Cheryl Finley, Cornell University; remarks from Adger Cowans, Photographer and Co-founder of the Kamoinge Workshop; and remarks from Deborah Ultan, Arts & Design Librarian and Curator of the Francis V. Gorman Rare Art Books & Media Collection at the University of Minnesota.

Spoken Word with Ty Chapman, Keno Evol, and Andrea Jenkins

Wednesday, October 12 at 12:15 pm CDT, InFlux Space, Regis Center for Art

Writers Reading Program with Mary Moore Easter, G.E. Patterson, and Davu Seru

Thursday, November 17 at 12:15 pm CDT, InFlux Space, Regis Center for Art

Artists in the Exhibition

Salimah Ali, Devin Allen, The Rev. Henry Clay Anderson, Jean Andre Antoine, Thomas E. Askew, Radcliffe Bailey, J. P. Ball, John L. Banks, Anthony Barboza, Ronald Barboza, Miranda Barnes, C. M. Battey, James “Jimmy” Baynes, Endia Beal, Arthur P. Bedou, Hugh Bell, Dawoud Bey, Mark Blackshear, Kwame Brathwaite, Sheila Pree Bright, George O. Brown, Nakeya Brown, Kesha Bruce, Crystal Z Campbell, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Micaiah Carter, Charles Chamblis, Vanessa Charlot, Albert Chong, Tiffany L. Clark, Mark Clennon, Tameca Cole, Florestine Perrault Collins, Bill Cottman, Adger Cowans, Gerald Cyrus, Louis Draper, Barbara DuMetz, Mara Duvra, John Edmonds, Dudley Edmondson, Cydni Elledge, Awol Erizku, Nona Faustine, Adama Delphine Fawundu, Al Fennar, Alanna Fields, Lola Flash, Krista Franklin, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Russell Frederick, Tia-Simone Gardner, Courtney Garvin, Bill Gaskins, John F. Glanton, Tony Gleaton, Goodridge Brothers, Kris Graves, Walter Griffin, Allison Janae Hamilton, Lucius W. Harper, Charles “Teenie” Harris, Daesha Devón Harris, L. Kasimu Harris, LeRoy Henderson, Jon Henry, Chester Higgins, Bobby Holland, Mildred Howard, Earlie Hudnall, Ayana V. Jackson, Frank Jackson, Leslie Jean-Bart, Rashid Johnson, Caroline Kent, Dionne Lee, Fern Logan, Stephen Marc, Robert H. McNeill, Ozier Muhammad, Nancy Musinguzi, Bruce Palaggi, Gordon Parks, Ebony G. Patterson, Howardena Pindell, John Pinderhughes, Carl Robert Pope, Jr., Deborah Roberts, Herb Robinson, Bobby Rogers, Keris Salmon, Keisha Scarville, Addison N. Scurlock, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Jamel Shabazz, Harry Shepherd, Coreen Simpson, Lorna Simpson, Marvin and Morgan Smith, Ming Smith, Jovan C. Speller, Bruce W. Talamon, Elnora and Arthur Chester Teal, Hank Willis Thomas, Richard A. Twine, James Van Der Zee, Shawn Walker, Augustus Washington, Carrie Mae Weems, Carla Williams, Deborah Willis.

Exhibition Catalog

The exhibition catalog provides additional context on the connections between Black American history and culture and the photographic process. Co-published with University of California Press, the catalog includes a full-page image, statement, and biography for each artist in conjunction with essays by prominent scholars and artists Cheryl Finley, crystal am nelson, Seph Rodney, and Deborah Willis. The U of M Bookstore now has the book in stock.


The exhibition is organized by independent curator Herman J. Milligan, Jr. and Howard Oransky, Director of the Katherine E. Nash Gallery. It includes a display of related historical material curated by University Librarian Deborah Ultan and a program of recorded music curated by Herman J. Milligan, Jr. A Picture Gallery of the Soul is co-sponsored by the Department of African American & African Studies, the Department of Art History, the Department of History, the Race, Indigeneity, Gender & Sexuality Studies Initiative, the Office for Public Engagement, the Imagine Fund, and the University Libraries, including the Archie Givens Sr. Collection of African American Literature. The organizers gratefully acknowledge The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation, Kate and Stuart Nielsen, Metropolitan Picture Framing, BluDot and The Givens Foundation for African American Literature, whose generous support has made this project possible.

Related Exhibition

The Eyes See What the Heart Feels: From the Archives of Photographer & Painter Adger Cowans

September 12, 2022 - January 31, 2023

Elmer L. Andersen Library


Star Tribune • Kare11 • CBS Minnesota • Mill City Times • Longfellow Nokomis Messenger

Spotify Soundscape

Exhibition co-curator Herman J. Milligan, Jr. has compiled a jazz-inspired playlist to accompany the exhibition. 113 songs, 16+ hours, and well worth a listen – click here to access the playlist on Spotify

The Gallery is located in the Regis Center for Art, East Building, 405 21st Avenue So., Minneapolis, MN, 55455. This is in the Arts Quarter area of the West Bank campus.

Open: Tuesday and Friday, 11 am – 5 pm; Wednesday and Thursday, 11 am – 7 pm; Saturday, 11 am – 3 pm. Closed: Sunday and Monday. Regis Center for Art is U-Card access only; please call the Gallery Attendant Desk for entry.

Gallery Attendant Desk


Administrative Office


Parking & Public Transit

Learn more about the parking options below:

21st Avenue South ramp

5th Street South lot

19th Avenue South ramp

The Gallery is accessible via Metro Transit buses and light rail lines. For your best route, visit Metro Transit Trip Planner.


Regis Center for Art is accessible to visitors who use mobility devices or prefer to avoid stairs. Service animals are welcome in the gallery.

A fully accessible, gender neutral restroom is available on the 2nd floor of the Regis Center for Art (West). To access this restroom, take the elevator to the 2nd floor and proceed across the skyway towards Regis West. As you exit the skyway the restroom will be directly across from you. Fully accessible gendered restrooms are located directly to the left hand side when exiting the gallery on the first floor of Regis Center for Art (East).

Large bags and backpacks must be left at the gallery front desk with the attendant. In order to protect the art, no food or drink is allowed in the gallery.


The Katherine E. Nash Gallery is a research laboratory for the practice and interpretation of the visual arts


We believe the visual arts have the capacity to interpret, critique, and expand on all of human experience. Our engagement with the visual arts helps us to discover who we are and understand our relationships to each other and society.

The Katherine E. Nash Gallery will be a center of discourse on the practice of visual art and its relationship to culture and community — a place where we examine our assumptions about the past and suggest possibilities for the future.

The Nash Gallery will play an indispensable role in the educational development of students, faculty, staff, and the community.


Professor Katherine "Katy" E. Nash (1910–1982), a faculty member of the Department of Art from 1961–1976, proposed that the Student Union create a university art gallery. Founded in 1979, the gallery moved to its current location in the Regis Center for Art in 2003. Learn more about the remarkable life and work of Professor Nash.

Share on: