The story of America and African Americans is a story of hope, inspiration and steadfast courage. It is also the story of injustice and of a people whose struggles and achievements helped our country achieve its promise of liberty and justice. Kadir Nelson captures the true history of our nation in his award-winning children’s book Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans published by HarperCollins in 2011. This fall The Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators will exhibit forty original oil paintings from Nelson’s awe-inspiring children’s book. “Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans” will be on display at the Museum from September 4 through October 20, 2012.
Written in the voice of a former slave that goes on to cast her vote for the country’s first African American president, Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans portrays scenes of triumph and hardships that have become important symbols to our nation’s history. Inspired by such prominent illustrators as Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth and Dean Cornwell, Nelson’s large scale, sculptural and intensely colored oil paintings take viewers through African American History from colonization to the civil rights movement. This body of work illustrates the milestones that were achieved helping all citizens gain their freedom and equal rights.
Nelson says, “My goal is to inform viewers in a way that is very familiar to them—the significance of citizenship and how American and African American historical achievements, both large and small, have helped to create a national platform that allows for freedom, and the right to fight for it.”
The Society of Illustrators is proud to display these powerful images together for the first time.
In conjunction with this exhibit the Society of Illustrators is pleased to present a lecture and panel discussion: African American History is American History: How Struggles for African American Liberty Earned All Americans their Civil Rights
About Kadir Nelson
Kadir Nelson is an award-winning American artist whose works have been exhibited in major national and international publications, institutions, art galleries, and museums. Nelson earned a Bachelor’s degree from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and has since created paintings for a host of distinguished clients including Sports Illustrated, The Coca-Cola Company, The United States Postal Service, Major League Baseball, and Dreamworks SKG where he worked as a visual development artist creating concept artwork for feature films, Amistad, and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. Many of Nelson’s paintings are in the collections of notable institutions and public collections, including the U.S. House of Representatives and the National Baseball Hall of Fame, as well as in the private collections of actors, professional athletes, and musicians. Nelson has also gained acclaim for the artwork he has contributed to several NYT Best-selling picture books including his authorial debut, We Are The Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, winner of the Coretta Scott King and Robert F. Sibert Awards, and was published by Disney/Hyperion in the spring of 2008. Nelson is also the cover artist for Michael Jackson’s posthumous album, Michael. In 2011 Nelson was awarded a Silver Medal from the Society of Illustrators The Original Art: Celebrating the Fine Art of Children’s Book Illustration for Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African-Americans.