Whitfield Lovell is best known for his mixed-media installations featuring found objects and drawn portraits of anonymous African Americans. The human subjects of Lovell’s works are frequently sourced from found photographs, dated between the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil Rights movement, though Lovell has also been known to feature figures from family photographs as well. The found objects are usually quotidian yet historically symbolic, like playing cards, ropes, flags, and jewelry. These allegorically examine narratives and themes about family, identity, gender, love, loss, and the passage of time. His inspiration comes in part from songs, films, and poems, to which he alludes in the titles of the pieces. Lovell was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2007.