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Martell's Little Paris Group

Source: Michael Simon / Michael Simon


 

All month long we’ve been honoring the groundbreaking work by women from all aspects of our culture in honor of Women’s History Month. So, it would only be right to close out the annual occasion by featuring a special new art exhibit in NYC that pays homage to an iconic Black woman and is curated with help from one of your favorite Black women.

 


 

 

RELATED: Janelle Monáe Is Captivating On The March Cover Of ‘Ebony’ Magazine

Award-winning entertainer Janelle Monaé has partnered with prestigious cognac house Martell in an effort to breathe new life into the work of Loïs Mailou Jones (1905 – 1998). Together they launched a new gallery (seen above) that honors Jones’ as an artist, Black history maker and trailblazing female icon all at once.

Educate yourself with a brief cultural history lesson on who Loïs Mailou Jones was below, via Martell:

“Loïs Mailou Jones was the longest-surviving artist of the Harlem Renaissance who attained fame while living in Paris during the 1930s and 1940s. Influenced by the movement, Jones’ established a Parisian-style salon upon her stateside return, dubbed ‘The Little Paris Group’, where local Black artists and students could thrive creatively, hone their skills and exchange critiques. Often surrounded by influential identities such as presidents, world leaders and prominent figures like Langston Hughes, Josephine Baker and Carter G. Woodson, Jones was a multi-hyphenate talent who championed African American art and the Black Diaspora throughout her decades-long career as a pioneer painter and educator.”

 

 

The revamped Little Paris Group made its debut in Brooklyn last week (March 22) at Black-owned creative space The Bishop Gallery. Contemporary female artists Emonee Larussa and Sophia Victor, alongside their male counterpart Blue the Great, each helped usher in the new era of Little Paris Group by speaking during the launch event and hosting art workshops afterwards inspired by the Loïs Mailou Jones exhibit hanging from the walls, courtesy of The Loïs Mailou Jones Pierre-Noel Trust.

Take a better look inside Janelle Monáe & Martell’s revived Little Paris Group at The Bishop Gallery in Brooklyn below, including personal insights from the artists themselves on what it means to honor Loïs Mailou Jones during Women’s History Month:


 

 

“What connected me to this entire event is simply taking place in a gallery that represents me. Little Paris Group was a place where different creatives met on a weekly basis and shared different work they were creating — often it was works in progress. By being consistent in making art, they could each develop at least seven pieces of exhibition-worthy artwork. I’ve been making art for 20 years and never quite had a collective like that, so to have that support, community and accountability will work wonders.”

— Sophia Victor, @iamwetpaint

“The whole purpose of this is to highlight the amazing Loïs Mailou Jones’ legacy and how it’s impacted the traditional art world, particularly Black and brown artists today. Seeing how she’s been such a trailblazer while also being an educator as a female Black artist in this space makes me so passionate to educate the younger generation. There’s a purpose behind representation, and I want artists to feel valid when they come to these spaces. If a woman signs her name on an art piece in the traditional art world, it devalues. Sadly we’re starting to see the same issues occur in the new generation of digital art where I create. Having this space, especially during Women’s History Month, is so empowering.”

— Emonee Larussa, @em0n33y

 

“Little Paris Group, to me, is like a rebel organization put together by a Black woman that represents the same ideas that I preach: Black art out more and in the front of things! I don’t like to seperate art in any aspect, but Black woman artists are doing some amazing things in the space and it needs to continue being brought to the forefront.”

Bryan “Blue The Great” Blue, @bluethegreat

Janelle Monáe And Martell Honor The Black Art Of Loïs Mailou Jones With Little Paris Group Revival in BK  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

1. Martell’s Little Paris Group

Martell's Little Paris Group Source:Michael Simon

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Martell's Little Paris Group Source:Michael Simon

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Martell's Little Paris Group Source:Michael Simon

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Martell's Little Paris Group Source:Michael Simon

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Martell's Little Paris Group Source:Michael Simon

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Martell's Little Paris Group Source:Michael Simon

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Martell's Little Paris Group Source:Michael Simon

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Martell's Little Paris Group Source:Michael Simon

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Martell's Little Paris Group Source:Michael Simon

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Martell's Little Paris Group Source:Michael Simon

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Martell's Little Paris Group Source:Michael Simon

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Martell's Little Paris Group Source:Michael Simon

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Martell's Little Paris Group Source:Michael Simon

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Martell's Little Paris Group Source:Michael Simon

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Martell's Little Paris Group Source:Michael Simon

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Martell's Little Paris Group Source:Michael Simon

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Martell's Little Paris Group Source:Michael Simon

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Martell's Little Paris Group Source:Michael Simon

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Martell's Little Paris Group Source:Michael Simon

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Martell's Little Paris Group Source:Michael Simon

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