Lava Thomas, "Looking Back and Seeing Now" (detail), 2015; tambourines, lambskin, leather, ribbon, acrylic mirrors, digital prints, glue, monofilament wire, s-hooks, wood, steel, graphite, charcoal, and watercolor on paper, dimensions variable.

Lava Thomas

Artist in Residence, 2017

Artist Statement

Lava Thomas is a visual artist whose project-based practice explores the space where sociopolitical narratives and visual culture converge. Central to her practice are notions of (in)visibility, representation, empowerment and resilience.

While at Headlands

I will revisit seminal events of the Civil Rights Movement and retrieve neglected histories of women whose contributions have largely been eclipsed by the Movement’s male centric narrative. Using the Montgomery Bus Boycott as a site of inquiry, I’ll emphasize the initiative, leadership, and sustained labor of women to the boycott’s success in a series of life size portraits drawn from mug shots of the women who were arrested in the early months of the boycott. The portraits transform visual codes of implied criminality into representations of resistance, and place past struggles for racial, social and political equity into dialogue with the current rise of racial, political and social divisiveness in the US and around the globe.