Every day history is being made new. Every new day things are added to the pages of history that wasn’t there before. Have you ever wondered if you count and what you add matter? Well, the answer is yes you do. To understand the big picture is to look at it through God’s eyes, but we don’t have God’s eyes. We only have our own.
Let us not worry about the big picture but make the canvas around us beautiful. If each one of us only focused on beautifying the parts of the canvas we can touch, oh the beautiful picture we would create.
I’d like to welcome you to this month’s “Grand Canvas,” the first in a monthly series which will feature one of God’s daughters (or maybe even sons), as they share their creative souls with us.
For me, art is not just paint on a canvas. It is creating beauty, which as we know differs for each beholder.
This month our first ever featured artist is Josephine Vida Barnes, I chose to feature Josephine in honor of Black History month. You may be hearing her name for the first time but she is creating beauty on her part of the Canvas in today’s history.
Many artist have gone before her painting black history all over the world’s canvas; inventing, crafting, speaking, writing, fighting for freedom and justice, and so much more.
Now it is her time to paint her canvas.
Josephine Vida Barnes (JOVIBA) was born in Cape Palmas, Liberia, West Africa. She grew up in New Rochelle, NY and studied art at Mt. Ida College in Newton, MA; Providence College in Providence, RI and The Art Students League in New York City, NY. In the mid 1970’s she worked at the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts and the National Center for Afro-American Artists in Boston, MA.
She has recently retired after numerous years working in the public and private sectors while continuing to create her art privately and as a freelancer. Retirement has now allowed her to devote all of her focus on what she loves most.
Her artwork is inspired by the visions, memories and stories of her birthplace. Her work is also a tribute to the colorful souls, spirits and images of the African woman. These women whose roles as mothers, sisters, friends, nurturers, care givers and market women are captured in her work as they go about their everyday life.
JOVIBA uses mixed media when creating her work and not only includes watercolor, pastels, charcoal, pen and ink but other products and techniques to develop texture in some of her work. She continues to experiment with different medium and considers her new journey as a work in progress.
Read some of what ignites the fire in Joviba’s Creative soul-
What does black history mean to you?
Black history is global and is inclusive of the history all black people regardless of their origin. Black history should always be celebrated and not just in the month of February. It is a global history and should be taught in that context.
Who are the most influential people in your life?
My father, Nathan. My maternal and paternal grandparents
Who are your black history heroes?
Nelson Mandala and every black man and woman who made sacrifices through history (whether known or unknown) via their voices , writings and actions for the race of black people on this planet.
Who is your favorite poet?
James Baldwin and Maya Angelou
Who is your favorite writer?
Edwidge Danticat (Haitian writer)-Favorite Book “Breath, Eyes, Memories”
Who is your favorite artist?
Omar El Shabu and Paul Goodnight
What is your favorite quote?
“Sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits” – James Baldwin
“If you can’t tote it, drag it. If you can’t drag it, drop it.” Grandma Elizabeth Knight Barnes
Which one of your pieces is your favorite?
Of the collection I sent you “Jacob’s Wives and Dinah.”
What inspired you to create this piece?
The biblical story of Jacob and the novel “The Red Tent” by Anita Diamant
What would you like people to derive from it ?
I would like for people to derive from all of my work which is pretty much focused on women, the spiritual, vibrancy and strength of the sisterhood of women by the use of my themes and colors.
How would you like to be remembered in history?
As a decent human being.
Josephine just recently launched a new website www.joviba.com, where she features some of her works of art and sells 2015 calendars featuring her favorite pieces. She plans to expand her business by selling greeting cards and more.
As is the case for all of us, Josephine is pursuing her dreams, growing and learning as history’s pages keep turning. I am thankful that you spent this moment of your time with me, learning about someone new and being inspired by one of God’s creative souls.
If you are interested in sharing your creative soul and being the feature in next month’s Grand Canvas post. Please comment below, so I can get in contact with you. I’d love to hear from you.