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Culture

Artist Jeromyah Jones Talks to TNH about ‘I AM 400’ Banner at ACG in Athens

April 27, 2021

NEW YORK – Art transcends borders in a powerful way and can transform our perspective, open our horizons, and teach us about ourselves and our shared humanity. Visual artist Jeromyah Jones spoke with The National Herald about the “I AM 400” banner which he created with his father, artist Jerome W. Jones, Jr., and now on display at American College of Greece (ACG) in Athens, one of the latest institutions to acquire the banner. The banner highlights great historical figures of African descent.

Jones told TNH that “the portraits within our 4 by 12 foot ‘I AM 400’ banner have been autographed by Shirley Chisholm, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, NASA Mathematician Dr. Christine Darden, Dr. Dorothy Height, Martin Luther King, III, Xernona Clayton, Dr. Wyatt T. Walker, Alex Haley, Nikki Giovanni, Attorney Oliver Hill, Arthur Ashe, and more.” He noted that “our banners have also been added to the collections of Union Theological Seminary on Broadway, St. Lawrence University in New York, Monroe College in the Bronx, Trocaire College in Albany, NY, Wesleyan University in Connecticut, Central State University in Ohio, Emerson College in Boston, the Charles R. Drew University of Mathematics and Science in Los Angeles, Nebraska Methodist College, University of New Hampshire, Baylor University in Texas, and more.”

“The paintings in this banner counter the countless images that have plagued public perceptions of who people of African descent are in the U.S. and abroad,” Jones told TNH. “We commend the American College of Greece for seeing the importance of sharing this history through Art.”

When asked how long it took to put the project together, Jones noted that the “banner is a reflection of 40 years of work, but it took about a month and a half to choose which pieces would be a part of this project, to place the arrangement of the paintings represented, to create the prototype, and to print.”

Of how ACG became involved with the project, Jones told TNH that “we wanted the 400-year history of African Americans to be seen not only in America but across the globe, so I reached out to President David G. Horner of ACG, and he shared it with Director Vicki Biba to let me know that they were very much interested in acquiring the ‘I AM 400’ banner. By Greece being known widely as a country centered around Art and Philosophy, and this particular institution having the American connection, I thought the historical significance of the banner, the great thinkers, and artists from our community could be appreciated.”

When asked about the most rewarding aspect, Jones said, “the most rewarding aspect of the banner initiative is the responses we have received and seeing it exhibited in various public and private institutions. We are writing poetry and working on having a show called the ‘Dissertation On Peace Exhibit (D.O.P.E.)’ that will highlight our collection of paintings that give creative solutions to bringing the manifestation of Peace to Earth.”

More information about the art of Jerome and Jeromyah Jones is available on their website: http://www.jeromewjonesjr.com.

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