Jammie Holmes is a 2023 Gordon Parks Foundation Fellow

Born and raised in Thibodaux, Louisiana, not far from the Mississippi River, Jammie Holmes (b. 1984) draws on personal memories and experiences to depict narratives about Black life in the American South. His art reflects on the everyday moments—celebrations, rituals, traditions, and struggles—that bind a community surrounded by the social and economic scars of slavery and racism. A self-taught artist, Holmes transforms and gives new meaning to what he calls “familiar and familial” scenes, through paintings and installations whose visual vocabulary includes symbolic forms as well as techniques borrowed from Old Master paintings. In this way, he proposes novel modes of Black storytelling.

Church Folks was inspired by the Black churches at the heart of numerous southern communities, places that unite through shared faith, joy, and grief. Among the references for this body of work is Gordon Parks’s 1956 series Segregation Story, which documented the everyday lives of Black Americans in the Jim Crow South. Holmes was particularly interested in Parks’s images of the events just before and after the church service, scenes that for Holmes captured “what felt like home.” Church Folks focuses on these quotidian moments through tableaux and portraits that are imagined yet familiar, and memorialized through symbolic objects, gestures, and palette that speak to Holmes’s identity. Together, they represent what he terms “the universal language of the American South.”

All works are copyright of the artist and courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen.
Artwork photography by Chadwick Redmon.

Opening Event:
2023 Gordon Parks Foundation Fellows Jammie Holmes, José Parlá, and Melanee C. Harvey in conversation
February 7, 2024, 6:00p
The Gordon Parks Foundation Gallery, Pleasantville, N.Y.
For more information click here.

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Jammie Holmes, Church Folks, 2023. Acrylic, glitter, and gold leaf on canvas


Production Company: Dan Klein Films. Executive Producer: Dan Klein. Director of Photography and Editor: Quinn Murphy. Production Coordinator: Carter Dutton-Kneaves.

Jammie Holmes, Praying Hands, 2023. Acrylic and glitter on canvas

Jammie Holmes, Lady with Red Nails, 2023. Acrylic, glitter, and gold leaf on canvas

Jammie Holmes, She Smile, 2023. Acrylic and gold leaf on canvas

Jammie Holmes, Sam, 2023. Acrylic and glitter on canvas

Jammie Holmes, Church Hats, 2023. Acrylic, glitter, and gold leaf on canvas

Jammie Holmes, Sparrows, 2023. Acrylic on canvas