Ayana V. Jackson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Ayana V. Jackson
Born (1977-05-14) May 14, 1977 (age 41)
EducationSpelman College
Known forPhotography

Ayana V. Jackson (born 1977) is an American photographer and filmmaker. Born in Livingston, New Jersey, she received her B.A. in Sociology from Spelman College in 1999. In 2005, at the invitation of professor Khatarina Sieverding, she studied critical theory and large format printing at the University of Arts Berlin. She is best known for her focus on Contemporary Africa and the African Diaspora, most notably the series African by Legacy, Mexican by Birth, Leapfrog (a bit of the Other) Grand Matron Army, and Archival Impulse.


Ayana Vellissia Jackson was born in Livingston, New Jersey and raised in East Orange, New Jersey where her family has long held residence. Her grandmother Angenetta Still Jackson, is a descendant of Leah Arthur Jones—a member of the founding family of New Jersey's first Black Settlement, Lawnside, New Jersey. Her grandfather, J. Garfield Jackson, was Essex County's first African American principal. The city of East Orange later named Jackson Academy elementary school after him. She traveled to Ghana in 2001, where she visited her family's compound in North Odorkor. During this trip she produced her first photography series, "Full Circle: A Survey of Hip Hop in Ghana."

Photographic career[edit]

Jackson initially studied sociology and photography during her undergraduate years at Spelman College.[1] She continued her training while at the Berlin University of the Arts, and at a series of photography residencies including the Bakery Photographic Collective and Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, France.

Her photographic series "Full Circle: A Survey of Hip Hop in Ghana," "Viajes Personales," and "African by Legacy, Mexican by Birth" have been exhibited in association with Gallery MOMO (Johannesburg, RSA), Rush Arts Gallery (US), A Gathering of the Tribes (US), Galerie Peter Herrmann (Germany), Mexican Museum (US) the Franklin H. Williams CCC/African Diaspora Institute (US) and Culturesfrance (FR), the US State Department and the World Bank.[2]

She has received grants from the Inter-American Foundation and Puma Creative; the latter supported her participation in the 2009 Bamako African Photography Biennial (Rencontres africaines de la photographie).[3]

Her public art exhibitions include Round 32 of Project Row Houses (US) in Houston’s 3rd ward.[4]

Her photography can be found in publications including the exhibition catalogue for her series "African by Legacy, Mexican by Birth,"[5] "Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society" (Columbia University),[6] Camera Austria, and the New York Times blog called Lens.[7] She has lectured and conducted workshops at university and arts institutions in the US, Colombia. Mexico, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. Ayana V. Jackson got grants from the Marguerite Casey Foundation, Inter American Foundation, US State Department, French Institute and New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship for photography.[8]

Full Circle: A Survey of Hip Hop in Ghana[edit]

In "Full Circle," Jackson provides a stimulating visual documentary of the Ghanaian music scene. Not often are we able to visualize how Hip Hop has stretched past our U.S. boundaries, especially into Africa. "Full Circle" allows viewers to engage intimately in the appropriated, reshaped culture. She reveals to us- through examination of musicians and industry professionals- that an ostensibly lucrative western model has swayed the creation of Hip Life. Nonetheless, Jackson softens the edges of Hip Life adding warmth and character to each photo, making each more inviting to the audience and compelling us to form our own opinions of how and why Hip Life is transformative. Such fluidity is necessary in developing discussions of cultural metamorphosis.[9]

African by Legacy, Mexican by Birth[edit]

In "African By Legacy, Mexican By Birth," the extraordinary photographic work of Jackson and the powerful narrative of Marco Villalobos brings inspired insight in addressing the role of racial and cultural citizenship as it impacts the lives of African descendants in Mexico and throughout the Americas. The exhibition actively speaks to the spirit of the maroon Yanga of Mexico who valiantly fought for the liberation of his people and assured the continuing presence of Afro Mexicans as an integral part of our African legacy in the Americas. Selections from "African By Legacy, Mexican by Birth" were presented throughout Latin America in venues such as Altos de Chavon, La Romana, Dominican Republic; La Fe Theater, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico; Universidad Autonomia de Nicaragua and the Colsubsidio, Bogota, Colombia.


Jackson, Ayana V. and Marco Villalobos, Rompiendo el Silencio, 12 minutes Spanish/English subtitles

In collaboration with writer and filmmaker Marco Villalobos, Rompiendo el Silencio is Jackson & Villalobos's ongoing work in sound vision. A meditation on common struggle, a celebration of diversity, and a contemplation on the origins of modern maroonage. Rompiendo el Silencio frames history and urgency in the here and now. This film combines first-person narrative with images captured by Jackson and Villalobos on Super 8. Sound art composed by Marco Villalobos is mixed with inverviews conducted during their 2003 and 2005 trips.



Year Title Venue Country
2013 Gallery Sho Contemporary Art - Tokyo
2013 Archival Impulse and Poverty Pornography Baudoin Lebon Gallery Paris, France
2013 Archival Impulse MOMO Gallery Johannesburg, South Africa
2011 Projection surface MOMO Gallery Johannesburg, South Africa
2009 African by Legacy, Mexican by Birth" Angkhor Photo Festival Cambodia
2008 Looking Glass Self Peter Hermann Gallery Berlin, Germany
2007 African by Legacy, Mexican by Birth Mijares Gallery in conjunction with UCLA Los Angeles, CA
2006 African by Legacy, Mexican by Birth Guadeloupe Arts Center San Antonio, Texas
2006 Viajes Personales Bluefields Indian and Caribbean University Bluefields, Nicaragua
2005 Instituto Universitario de Barlovento, Higuerote, Venezuela; Biblioteca Virgilio Barco, Bogota Colombia; UNAN-Leon, Leon, Nicaragua; Museo del Hombre, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic African By Legacy, Mexican by Birth (Series 1) Inter-America Foundation, National Council of La Raza, Inter-Agency Consultation on Race in Latin America Washington DC


Year Work Venue Country
2015 "Does the brown paper bag test really exist? Will my father be proud?" 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Mariane Ibrahim Gallery New York, NY
2010 ECO, SEGAW, ECHO, XIANG Project Row Houses Round 32 Houston, Texas
2010 The Mothership has Landed Rush Arts New York, NY
2009 8th Bamako Encounters / African Photography Biennial - Bamako, Mali
2008 The Shoot Out: A Lonely Crusade, Homage to Jamel Shabazz The George and Leah McKenna Museum of African American Art New Orleans, LA
2007 Post Millennial Black Madonna Paradise/ Inferno Museum of Contemporary African Diasporic Art (MoCADA) and Skylight Gallery Brooklyn, NY
2006 The Shoot Out African American Museum Philadelphia, PA
2003 Full Circle: A Survey Of Hip Hop in Ghana The World bank DC

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Preston, S. (2014). Ayana V. Jackson's Leapfrog. Blackflash Magazine, 31(1), 5-9
  2. ^ "Forum: Ayana V. Jackson", Camera Austria, Issue 107, October 2009
  3. ^ Krifa, Michket and Laura Serani, Rencontres de Bamako 2009
  4. ^ "Round 32". Project Row Houses. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  5. ^ Jackson, Ayana V and Marco Villalobos, African by Legacy, Mexican by Birth, Unilan Publishing, 2006
  6. ^ Cover Photo, Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, Vol. 6, #2, Spring 2004
  7. ^ Estrin, James. "Honoring the Legacy of African-American Women." Lens. New York Times, 26 May 2016. Web. 07 Sept. 2016.
  8. ^ "Mariane Ibrahim Gallery | Ayana V Jackson". marianeibrahim.com. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  9. ^ Rogers, Ingrid L., Curator's Statement: Introduction to Full Circle, World Bank Art Program, Web 2003, http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/EXTABOUTUS/ORGANIZATION/GSDARTPROGRAM/0,,contentMDK:20094455~pagePK:219320~piPK:219325~theSitePK:254046,00.html