Bryan Keith Thomas was born in Dyersburg, Tennessee and received his MFA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Thomas currently resides in Oakland, California, where he works as a Professor of Fine Art within the Painting and Drawing and Critical Ethnic Studies departments at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, CA.

Thomas’ work celebrates the Black experience through its historic symbols: cotton, roses, Church fans, Holy Bibles, and the African American image. He includes nuances of Asia, India, and Africa as a single community. “The mirrors in my works, inspired by the Minkisi- Power figures and nail fetishes from central Africa, symbolize desire, mortality, and ancestral protection. The nails hold the energy of a prayer request. The small cloth bags (Heirloom Bags) adorning multiple paintings bear spiritual and physical memories. In addition, the bags contain seeds, money, crystals, hair, prayer cloths, and more.”

Thomas received the “White House Honor” as First Lady Laura Bush’s guest for his work within the Art in Embassies Program in Washington, DC. In addition, his work has been exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally at Art Basel Miami, FL; de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA; the Oakland Museum of California; Gallery Guichard, Chicago, IL; ArtJaz Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; E&S Gallery, Louisville, KY, the American Embassy, Dakar, Senegal; Du Sable Museum, Chicago, IL, among others. Furthermore, his paintings are in several private and public collections worldwide.

Residency: February 2024 - May 2024

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