About the Artists
Jae Jarrell’s radical fashions use the body as a vessel for protest, resistance, and identity. Her love of fashion was influenced by the legacy of her grandfather, who was a tailor, and her uncle, who ran a haberdashery shop, selling fabric and sewing supplies. She went on to study art and clothing design at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Howard University in Washington, D.C. In 1968, Jae, her husband Wadsworth Jarrell, and fellow artists Jeff Donaldson, Barbara Jones-Hogu, and Gerald Williams founded the collective AFRICOBRA (which stands for African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists). The group formed in response to a lack of positive representation of African and African American people in media and the arts. Their goal was to produce works that conveyed the pride, power, history, and energy of their communities.
Jessica Lynne is co-founder and editor of ARTS.BLACK, a journal of art criticism from Black perspectives. She received her B.A. in Africana Studies from NYU and has been awarded residencies and fellowships from Art21 and The Cue Foundation, Callaloo, and The Center for Book Arts. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Aperture, Art in America, The Brooklyn Rail, and Kinfolk. She is a Winter 2018 Columnist-in-Residence at Open Space and currently serves as the Manager of Development and Communication at Recess. She is co-editor, alongside Sharon Louden, of the forthcoming book, The Innovators: Defining Change in the Art World, that will be published by Intellect Ltd. and The University of Chicago Press.
Naila Ansari is a native of Buffalo, New York, and a Cum Laude graduate of Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts program. As an original and former principal dancer for the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble, Ansari was named in Dance Magazine’s “Top 25 Dance Companies to Watch” for the 2012–2013 season. She has performed with the legendary Lula Washington Dance Theatre out of Los Angeles, California, and performed works by Camille Brown, Kyle Abraham, Robert Battle, and other esteemed choreographers. Ansari is an adjunct professor at Buffalo State in the Theatre and Dance Department and is currently pursing a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University at Buffalo.