Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Elaine Jae Jarrell

 Above and Below: 'Urban Wall Suit' 1969 cotton and silk painted.

Jae Jarrell inspired by her Grandfather's work as a tailor and her uncles haberdashery shop. An early exposure to fabrics and stitch techniques set the foundations for a career as an artist, fashion designer and advocate. Jae produced garments to inspire pride, power, energy, and self respect in African American communities. She was one of the founding members of AFRICOBRA
"One of the tenets of AFRICOBRA was to reinvent yourself, reinvent how you were, reinvent your whole manner so that you had a fresh voice. I was inventing my fabric. I had made a line of silk shirts at my Jae of Hyde Park shop, so I decided to use the scraps. I put them together in large and small patches of rectangular shapes and squares. I started to pay attention to the walls in our Chicago
area, all of the markings on them. AFRICOBRA had made us missionaries to the community; we were doing art for the community. And I saw the walls as community message boards. I was struck by folks who tagged questions or propositions on the wall that someone else might answer. I thought, “Wow, this is hip.” As I was putting together this fabric I thought, “Let me see if I can make bricks in it.” I used velvet ribbon for my mortar, and began to paint and write graffiti as well as incorporating the posters with announcements that you would find. That’s how I got to Urban Wall Suit."
Jae Jarrell

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