Jonah Elijah

Region: MFA Annual

 I negotiate American history and its erasure of Black people, through narratives, exploration of identity, portraiture, and language. My paintings depict my perception of what it’s like to be Black in today’s world. Through both abstraction and representation, I use my memories to depict the experience of being raised in a lower-middle-class Black community. Celebrating the scenes from my journey with the hopes of providing nostalgia for a viewer. My parents parted ways when I was three, which led me to be raised by my father during the week and my mother on weekends. That made me feel like I was living two different lives every week. Now when I recreate scenes from that reality, multiple perspectives come into focus. My work invites viewers to look at these experiences both literally and metaphorically, echoing my upbringing. I not only want people to see scenes from my life, but also to feel what it’s like to be a part of my larger community and maybe even feel what it’s like be Black in America.