New Orleans, LA
2023-2024 Grant Black People Be - photo portrait series
Jourdan Barnes creates digital photo collages and photographs with the mission of amplifying the voice of the Black community. “I incorporate elements of textiles and nature, specifically grass, vines, and trees to represent the diversity of Black cultures woven together, and the ideas of ‘Blackness’ growing and thriving in any environment,” says Barnes. With this grant, he will create a series of portraits to showcase the importance of Black people’s existence. His images will be of “Black people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds, taken in different settings, highlighting their unique stories, and having conversations about topics that impact Black people the most.” Barnes will work with individuals, organizations and communities to create portraits paired with narratives from the participants.
While creating a platform for Black people to share their unique experiences, his goal is to improve the accuracy of the representation of the Black community while shining a positive light on his subjects. “Black people's lack of representation and visibility in mainstream media has contributed to this marginalization and perpetuation of negative stereotypes. Therefore, there is a need for a more positive, well-rounded representation of Black people in society to help break down these stereotypes and promote equality and social justice.
“As a Black Queer man, I didn't see representation of myself growing up, making it hard for me to navigate and create my identity. My duty is to create a dynamic representation that creates a comfortable space in the Black community to feel seen, heard, and vulnerable.”
Barnes graduated from Xavier University of New Orleans in 2015 with a BA in Fine Arts and a minor in Psychology. He works as the Community Engagement Specialist for the Louisiana Department of Health STD/HIV Program. Barnes has worked at YAYA as their studio mentor and currently serves on YAYA’s board of directors. He has exhibited his work at The Ogden, Contemporary Arts Center, the Front gallery and the Prospect 3 satellite exhibit in New Orleans as well as at the Guggenheim Museum and the Lower Eastside Girls Club in Manhattan. In 2020, he participated in the Joan Mitchell Foundation’s Artist in Residence program.
Jourdan Barnes first joined the YAYA Guild in 2007.
All works are copyright of the artist.