Jammie Holmes is a self-taught painter from Thibodaux, Louisiana, whose work tells the story of contemporary life for many black families in the Deep South. Through portraiture and tableaux, Holmes depicts stories of the celebrations and struggles of everyday life, with particular attention paid to a profound sense of place. Growing up 20 minutes from the Mississippi River, Holmes was surrounded by the social and economic consequences of America’s dark past, situated within a deep pocket of the Sun Belt, where reminders of slavery exist alongside labor union conflicts that have fluctuated in intensity since the Thibodaux Massacre of 1887. His work is a counterpoint to the romantic mythology of Louisiana as a hub of charming hospitality, an idea that has perpetuated in order to hide the deep scars of poverty and racism that have structured life in the state for centuries.⠀

Says Holmes: “This mural is about the universal language spoken by children through play; kids who may not speak the same language still know how to have fun with each other. Kids grow up too fast now because of the responsibilities we put on them. Laughter and play will always sound and look the same no matter where it happens. In the mural, there is a kid doing a backflip on an old mattress outside, left for trash. Kids will always find creative ways to stay young — it's up to us not to take that away from them.”⁠ ⁠⠀⁠

Project Gallery

Universal Language
Universal Language

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