Barber, Jamaal, (I Will- Identity Series)
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"I WIll, Identity Series" by Jamaal Barber
30x22 inches woodcut on cream paper, limited editions 9/9-- unframed
Black Identity Series: The Identity series are woodcut portraits showing the struggle of keeping black identity in America. Society is constantly taking away your individuality, whether its by racial profiling or stereotyping. When I encounter the police they do not see me as a father, a husband, an artist, a home owner, a tax payer. They see a black man with no benefit of the context of my life. The people in the portraits have their eye carved out symbolizing this stereotyping. Despite this stripping away, the figures still appear regal and proud. They embrace the unique characteristics of their culture, specifically with hair styles.
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.