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Barber, Jamaal, (I Was, Black Love Series)


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"I Was" by Jamaal Barber

16x36" mixed media on wood panel --natural pine frame

Listening to current R&B music, the word "love" has been replaced by "sex". There is a generation being raised with this warped idea of how to show affection. I remembered the Dogon figures of the primordial couple when I started to imagine how love should look. The man sits beside a woman, where they are of equal height, to represent their equal importance in the relationship. The man also has his arm around the woman, symbolizing his role as her protector, while eternally connecting them together. I use this image in the series as the original expression of love created hundreds of years ago. I am displaying the couple along with song lyrics that are in line with what they represent to exhibit a genuine connection between a man and woman that has existed from the beginning of time. 


jamaal barber SBO head shot

Jamaal Barber was born in VA and raised in Littleton, NC. At a young age he was fascinated by the illustrations in children's books and the colorful images in comic books. He started drawing on the back of his tests in elementary school and was soon drawing on any material that he could find. He finally decided to become an artist after reading about the life of Romare Bearden in high school. In 2003, Jamaal graduated with a BA in Communication Arts from East Carolina University.  While in school he won the 2002 JOSA award for drawing and 1st Place in Graphic Design for the Rebel Magazine, the annual ECU student art awards magazine.  In 2004, Jamaal moved to Atlanta where he now resides with his wife and two children. He has worked doing graphic design work for Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. and Spoken Magazine. His fine art painting has been displayed at the Art on 5 and with the Mano-a- Mano art show. In 2013 after seeing a screen printing demo at a local art store, Barber started experimenting with printmaking and has made it his focus. His prints have been included in the Atlanta Printmaker Studio Biennial show and the Hudgens Center For The Arts.