Jewelya Coffey

Jewelya is from Missouri, but currently an MFA candidate at UNL in Lincoln, Nebraska. Using acrylic, gouache, and watercolor her work seeks to create a parallel universe to rural America, stories of sad, small towns with sad, small people, where secrets are kept and trauma grows like corn in a field. Many of her works have shown fire and smoke, representing the slow burn that she experienced before starting therapy. “Pain that isn't acknowledged for years causes sparks and deviations in your mental health.”

“I have gone from strictly making things on wooden panels, adding watercolor on top, and carving into them to incorporating a new texture made from sand, marble dust, and acrylic paint. This mixture represents distortion in memory and the fuzziness that we all experience trying to recall the past, as well as the physicality the fuzziness in these home videos from the 1990s have.”

Jewelya’s hope in pursuing vulnerability in her practice is that it will be relatable to people of all walks of life. Her work deals directly with religion, sexuality, family issues, poverty, etc., all of which are familiar to most folks. She wants to encourage others that it’s ok to feel confused about all of these things that happen in life and feel comfortable taking up space regardless of what your own personal narrative is.

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