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Africa

Oil on canvas board
23 7/8 x 19 7/8 inches
1935

As published in: 
Central to Their Lives: Southern Women Artists in the Johnson Collection

I Too Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100

Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition

Southern/Modern: Rediscovering Southern Art from the First Half of the Twentieth Century

As exhibited in:
59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale Di Venezia

Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition, 2020, The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC 

Afro-Atlantic Histories, 2021, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Texas

Southern/Modern: Rediscovering Southern Art from the First Half of the Twentieth Century, 2023–2024, Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, 2023, Frist Art Museum, Nashville, Tennessee, 2024

Central to Their Lives: Southern Women Artists in the Johnson Collection, 20182021, Georgia Museum of Art, Athens; Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson; Huntington Museum of Art, West Virginia; Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, Tennessee; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina; Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina; Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, Virginia

For nearly half a century, Loïs Mailou Jones served on the faculty at Howard University in Washington, DC, where colleagues encouraged the Boston-born artist to create work that would contradict contemporary racial stereotypes and explore her African heritage. Jones’s response to that challenge is powerfully borne out in Africa. Executed in vibrant jewel-like hues, Africa depicts three sharply-defined figures adorned with jewelry and patterned cloth. The trio’s symmetrical, elongated features and expressionless eyes recall similar visages found in African masks, a recurrent aesthetic component in Jones’s oeuvre. On the occasion of her ninetieth birthday, Jones reflected upon her artistic longevity and the obstacles she had confronted. “It wasn’t easy,” she said. “There was the double handicap: being a woman and being a woman of color. I kept going on, with determination. As I look back, I wonder how I’ve done it.”

 

 

Other works by this artist