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Friday, October 3, 2014

JAMEL - 9 Year Old Artist Illustrates Book


Keeper of the Fire: 
An Igbo Metalsmith from Awka

Jamel illustrates the book by 5 previous generations of his family. 



Jamel is the illustrator of the "Keeper of the Fire: An Igbo Metal Smith from Awka" book coming out soon. It's a research resource done by 5 generations of his family into the African cultural heritage of his abolitionist ancestors, Rev. Peter & Eliza Farrow Sr.  enslave in Glynn Cty., GA. The Farrows were freed from the Dover Hall Plantation & continued work on American UGRR by 1858 using "coded maps & messages sewing into quilts" said Mrs Kemp. 


In Ohio's old community Jamel has a great time doing his art. You might find him sitting at a little cafe after school, doing his drawing. Jamel's in 4th grade at the community elementary school. His new Art Specialist this past year, wrote Jamel a letter over the summer to inform & congratulate him on selection of his "Louis Nevelson Box Sculpture's" inclusion in the All-District Art Show. He has a new instructor since last school year. His former instructor since Kindergarten, Ms. Liefeld retired last year. 

Jamel said his old art instructor, Mrs. Liefeld, got his art to the high school's art shows every year and he never knew how, "It got there."  My first art show was in kindergarten says this seasoned artist. This is a well rounded boy who says he was inspired to do art his whole life. He played baseball ran track and is now a lineman on the Bexley Lion's Football Team.

He hails from a close knit extended family. His great grandparents showed Jamel the Sankofa Bird and talked with him about their family's Igbo African culture and American Underground Railroad (UGRR) legacy. "Memories Pieced Together Quilt Exhibit" that honored his late great grandmother at the M. L.K King Arts Complex March-April 2013.


He is also the great grandson of the late Dr. Howard Wilson, former Deputy Safety Director City of Columbus (Columbus, Ohio). His grandfather taught him to play the piano and gave him swimming lessons several times a week until his passing June 1, 2013. 






His late great grandmother Serena Strother Wilson. She was honored by a Presidential Proclamation at her 365 Harmony Program and documentary viewing last year. Serena was Ohio educator for 40 years and an internationally acclaimed Art History Maker. She was an author and loved quilting. She was nominated and recieved the honor of being selected as a An Art & Education History Marker. Forturnately she did 5 hours hours of video taped interviews in 2004. They have now been added to the Library of Congress with the other History Maker's Interview Collection.  

Mrs. Teresa R. Kemp

He attended his grandmother, Teresa R. Kemp's exhibit at the UGRR Secret Quilt Code Museum exhibit location formerly in Underground Atlanta with his mother (In Atlanta, Georgia 2005-2007). She visits me monthly and we go to libraries, galleries and exhibits after-school in Columbus, Ohio Jamel commented. He helps her with her quilting designs and the Keeper of the Fire Exhibit Arts & Craft Exhibit Projects.

Jamel's mother Tanisha is into fashion and has cultivated his love of design since he was an infant. She attended and received a BS in Human Ecology graduate of the Ohio State University and has a lot to do with development of his talents. She is his number 1 fan and patron for his art! His room looks like a art studio and a art gallery all in one. He loves pipe cleaners and knows all the names and habitats of every dinosaurs, she added.

We have been to Columbus Arts Council's downtown Riffe Gallery and  recently to the Capital University's Schumacher Gallery Jamel added. His grandmother being born in Germany wanted Jamel to see the Renaissance art techniques whose eyes will follow you. They both had a good time testing to see if they would follow him around the room. 
Jamel K. Thomas-Joyce with a statue
of a whippet at the Capital University's
Schumacher Gallery 9-.24-2014.


He recognized the carved Narwhal whale when we were at the Schumacher Gallery last week. We were looking at the Inuit exhibit and the gallery staff and I were surprised he knew the name and where the animal lived. Jamel told us some people think they are only a mythical creature.

His favorite piece was the whippet sculpture Jamel said "because art about them is so scarce".  They also took a field trip to area pawn shops because Jamel wanted to see taxidermy. Jamel was excited to see the life-like preservation of the animals. He wants a nature preserve and eventually a zoo on family lands in the south.

Jamel is the 7th generation quilter of the Farrow-McDaniel families! I am so excited that he took an interest and attended the Quilter for Christ Quilt Guild meeting with me this summer."This summer, he attended the Quilter's for Christ Quilt Guild with me and helped me work on one of the sampler quilts unfinished by my late mother and I, said his grandmother, Mrs. Teresa Kemp."

Jamel working on UGRR Sampler Quilt

Ms. Kemp explained. Many of the men in our family sew and my father, Dr. Howard L.Wilson often added the tubes to hang the quilts with at an exhibit last spring also. 


I was surprised to see him sewing in January 2012, when I arrived from Atlanta, GA to travel with them to Concord College, in Athens, West Virginia. He said my mother was not feeling well so he was making a few last minute repairs and fixes. I grabbed a needle and tread to finish getting ready.

Jamel cutting out fabric for his secret design
at the Quilter for Christ Quilt Guild meeting
He designed and made this snake stuffed animal to go on the floor at the door of his room also. They can also be used to stop drafts under doors to the outside. His art is expressed in many different mediums sketches, painting, sculpture, cartoons and more.

Jamel Joyce finishing stitching his snake.
stuffed animal at QFC guild meeting.

His finished "Sankofa Bird - Look back and Learn Your History" is one of 8 of his works in the book. Here are photos of him in the sketching process below.  



Jamel's artwork, titled "Louis Nevelson Box Sculpture" was selected to be in the fall All-District Art Exhibition opening October 7th, to November 7th, 2014 in the Fine Arts Wing of the Cassingham School Complex, Bexley, Ohio USA. This is Jamel's 4th year having one of his pieces selected to be in the All District Art Exhibition in Ohio (USA).

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