Date of Award
Art and Art History
I am a Black, queer, faith-driven artist from the rural parts of Southern Mississippi. Who I am greatly informs the work I make. I come from church fans and gas heaters, from winding backroads and yards full of “junk.” I come from flattened “get well soon” balloons as decor and piles of papers and things that will surely come in handy someday or another. This series of paintings is taken directly from snapshots of my family and church family over the years. Some are images from thirty years ago, and others are from just a few months ago. The work is about grief, love, lack, laughter, conflict, tension, but mostly about faith— joyful faith, faith through doubt, faith in something.
I look through family albums for photos I remember or at least remember hearing about. I consider how my family’s unique and often confusing identity as Black Americans living in the country is challenged or supported by the photo. These are all oil paintings made with layers of paint while leaving the underpainting or wood panel exposed in select areas. This practice is significant to my hand’s voice in these pieces. It alludes to the lyricism of Black voice-- of hymns, of call and response. I feel that painting no more than what is needed to understand the space and leaving areas “unfinished” assist in the point I make about the way we live life. The addition of using wood panels with heavy grain as the series evolved, has allowed me to explore skin tone as it relates to colorism as well as reference the old and worn panelling in our houses. It’s more than honest— even in its bends and skewed compositions— my paintings are more honest than the photos they are taken from, and they are certainly more honest than my family or me would like at times.
Jordan, Nakiyah T.M., "Of a Mustard Seed: The Portraits of "Church-Going" Black Folks in the Rural South" (2021). Honors Theses. 1904.
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