Unsettled Things: Art from an African American South

April 21, 2023 - July 2, 2023

A black globe on a stand set inside an iron pot filled with model ships

Including forty-four works by twenty-eight artists – largely drawn from the Ackland’s permanent collection — Unsettled Things: Art from an African American South explores works by makers from the southern United States, long overlooked and now considered major artists, including Thornton Dial, Lonnie B. Holley, Nellie Mae Rowe, and Mose Tolliver, through three themes: Life, Spirit, and Matter. The themes emerge from recurring threads in the works’ subject matter, from shared approaches to choosing and applying materials, and from the artists’ own accounts of their ideas, efforts, and struggles.


Exhibition-Related Public Programs

Tuesday, April 18, 2023 | 3 p.m. Zoom.
Virtual Conversation: Mapping Joe Minter’s African Village in America

Friday, April 21, 2023 | 3:30 p.m. Curator’s Tour of Unsettled Things
Free. RSVP requested.

Selected Thursday and Friday Afternoons | 1:30-2 p.m.
Tours of Unsettled Things

Saturday, April 29 & Saturday, June 10, 2023 | morning and afternoon sessions
Art Adventures inspired by Unsettled Things

Friday, June 9, 2023 | 6-9 p.m.
2nd Friday ArtWalk: Twilights on the Terrace

Saturday, June 17, 2023 | 1-4 p.m.
Unsettled Things Study Day
Free. RSVP required.

Saturday,  June 17, 2023 | 5-6:15
Work-in-Progress Film Screening: Minnie Evans: Draw or Die
Free ticket required

Sunday, June 25, 2023 | 1-5 p.m.
F.A.M. Fun in the Galleries: Exploring Unsettled Things


A companion publication, The Unfinished Business of Unsettled Things: Art from an African American South, is available from UNC Press.

Click here to explore the Reader’s Guide to Unsettled Things, a list of fiction and nonfiction books and eBooks selected by the Chapel Hill Public Library that pair well with the exhibition and its themes.

In-Gallery Brochure: What is Unsettling About Categories?

Unsettled Things: Art from an African American South
is organized by the Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Bank of America is the national sponsor for Unsettled Things. Additional support comes from the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Wyeth Foundation for American Art, Harriet Taylor Herring, and Joan Roberts Cates.

Bank of America logo


Image credit:

Lonnie Holley, American, born 1950, What Was Beyond Us (The Ocean of Our Thoughts), 2019, globe and stand, model ships, rocks, earth, moss, and cast iron pot, 40 1/2 x 19 in. (102.9 x 48.3 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Promised gift of John A. Powell, ’77, L2020.10.1a-o. © 2022 Lonnie Holley / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Your Responses

    1. Hello Jonathan,
      The exhibition is going next to the new International African American Museum in Charleston.

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