Home > Exhibits > Prophecy Makes History – An Art Exhibit from Jerome and Jeromyah Jones

Historians Against Slavery is happy to present this digital art exhibition from Jerome and Jeromyah Jones. The work of this father and son artistic collaboration is available until October 31 as a special exhibit at The Gallery at Main Street Station in Richmond, VA. To learn more about Jerome and Jeromyah Jones, visit their personal website and enjoy this CNN story.


This exhibit explores the connections between prophecy and history in the African American experience. Biblical narratives have long provided context for subjects of the African diaspora who understood themselves as descendants of ancient subjects. History then has been for many an intersection with prophecy and the past. Canvases become pages as narratives are translated into visual representations, offering both explorations of the middle passage and new passages for those of African ancestry. Mixing poetry and paintbrush, these works tell stories of tribulation, hope, faith, and determination. This collection highlights the spiritual reasons for social inequities and injustices that people of the African diaspora have experienced. Each painting is a landmark within various movements that have occurred throughout the struggle for liberation. As the viewer walks to and through each work of art they can gain an understanding and an appreciation for the “Ingenious African Minds” whose stories are intertwined within the landscape of history.


“I’m Sorry Dr. King”
3 x 5 feet
Acrylic on Canvas

The inspiration for Jerome W. Jones, Jr.’s painting “I’m Sorry Dr. King” comes from a poem written by the late Ron V. Jackson. This 3×5 foot figurative landscape of The United States of America is a mosaic of newspaper headlines of the social ills that plagued the nation during the Civil Rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His black and white dual portrait in the center of the painting represents a prophetic message he preached 50 years ago that addresses the oppression yesterday and today. The portrait painted of Dr. King in the Birmingham jail is from the historic photograph that his chief of staff, Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, took of him during their imprisonment.


3 x 4 feet
Oil on Canvas

Yewande is the Nigerian name for “Mother Shall Return.” There are symbols and motifs that visually and conceptually harmonize this 3×4 feet composition. The Sankofa bird seen in this painting is a symbol that derived from the Akan people of Ghana. Sankofa means “Go Back and Fetch It” (san-to return, ko-go, fa- fetch, to seek and take). Jeromyah’s poem “Yewande” preceded the process of painting the imagery. As in many of Jeromyah’s poems and paintings, he overlapped the lives of modern models he met on his journey with languages, landmarks, and landscapes of the past. Visual Artist, Yewande Lewis, and Singer/Activist, Yewande Austin inspired him to paint this reflection of the future that he sees for African Americans based on prophecies in Exodus and Revelation.
I must admit
My portrait only scratches the surface,
But I am privileged to know your purpose….
Who knew that I would write a poem for you?
I waited 400 years just to open the door for you!
So when the show was over I would’ve swept the floor for you.
Putting gold and glitter on painted figures
must be work but you delivered,
Must be pressure but you’re a cooker,
Creating this art to feed the lookers.
Seeing you carry 7 letters
helped me understand you better.
My heart was playing the tuba
before you said your name is from Yoruba,
When you told me the meaning of Yewande,
I meditated on what I should say….
You said your name is Nigerian,
The continent said you’ll be here again….
You are the swan who needs no lake to lie.
The truth is….you were born in the sky.
From the Northside yes indeed,
Ascension is your artistic creed.
By our future being YAH’s present,
In Africa you are present….
You were yesterday’s Fertile Crescent.
Every nation and model was once your citizen,
Your womb was the world they were sitting in.
You birthed a Baby too Grand to stay in this land,
No strings can be attached to your instruments,
When you leave there will be strong sentiments.
From Virginia to what was once the Gold Coast,
Your people will receive you with a toast!
Let your new bracelets
be their warm embraces.
Painter of masks,
This is their task.
Give them time to recognize you,
They cannot despise you.
When the children have learned,
They will rejoice
knowing that Mother has Returned.
© 2017 Jeromyah Jones


“The Afro American Experience”
4 x 8 feet
Acrylic on Canvas

This painting was created by Jerome in 1975 at the age of 16. This is an early example of the way that the artist chronicled the spectrum of influential African Americans who inspired him and the world through their gifts and contributions. Jerome’s signature style of collage painting in this piece showcases how he tells the story of a people as a visual historian. Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul, is portrayed in the right bottom corner of the painting. She passed on August 16, 2018 at the age of 76.

“Black Sheep Are Not Always Bad”

3 x 4 feet

Oil On Canvas

In this painting four mothers represent 400 years of the black tear in America. Gwen Carr (mother of Eric Gardner), Mamie Till (mother of Emmett Till), Sybrina Fulton (mother of Trayvon Martin), and Lezley McSpadden (mother of Michael Brown) are all mothers of sons who were murdered. The sons are represented as black sheep to combat the false narrative that every black man is a predator. Typically when a person is labeled as the black sheep he is being categorized as the trouble maker in the family, community, society, etc. The artist wants society to think long and hard about why a sheep would be considered bad just because of the color of his wool. Since Africans were brought to America, similar to the black wool, negative stereotypes have been attached to the men, women, and children because of their black skin. It was important for the artist to show that The Lamb of YAH who the book of Revelation describes as having hair of lamb’s wool wept for one of his sheep in John 11:35 (written at the upper right of painting). This specific example of compassion that the King of Kings showed is overlapped with Psalm 44:22 that describes the children of The Most High as sheep before the slaughter. Since we read that The Messiah wept for Lazarus, is it too farfetched to think that he would weep for one of these young men?
“Black Sheep Are Not Always Bad”
Black sheep are not always bad,
But for some reason they all end up sad,
Reasons known are not always sown,
The enemy loves to fight when the shepherd is gone.
How long shall mothers weep,
Watching blood drip from their slaughtered sheep?
I see my brothers lying by the roadside
And folks passing by like reality died!
I guess Target is no longer just the name of a store,
It’s anyone who is seen as having too much Black in store…
© 2015 Jeromyah Jones


“Queen or Miss?” (Autographed by Yityish Aynaw)
11 x 14 inches
Oil and Acrylic on Canvas

In 2013 Yityish Aynaw (born in Ethiopia) became the first black Miss Israel. Jeromyah’s poem explains the significance of her victory and it is intended to be an anthem for black women to understand their royal heritage that precedes crowns awarded through pageants.
“Queen or Miss?”
Daughter of Sheba, Oh how grand you are!
Such a tremendous descendant of Candace,
Victorious without having to demand this,
Pretty alone could not plan this.
What are we to call you?
Queen or Miss…
Israel misses its royal inhabitants
Black and extravagant,
You and the land,
It was chosen for you,
and you chosen for it.
And in spite of its alarmed robberies and
unceasing poverty,
You are a reminder of the beauty that remaineth,
Israel is overjoyed for this light it obtaineth!
Even the world can see,
This is more than pageantry!!!
This is Ethiopia stretching out her hands,
So YAH Bless Your Daughter
© 2013 Jeromyah Jones


“African House”
16 x 20 inches
Acrylic on Canvas

“African House” is a landscape painting of a former building that the artist Jerome photographed on Grace Street in Richmond, Virginia. The parking meter represents the measure of time Africans have been in America. The broken window symbolizes the treasures that were stolen from Africa that have made the world rich.


“Who Hears Our Blues?”
18x 24 inches
Acrylic on Canvas

This painting created in the monochromatic hue of blue was intended to show the melancholy that mounts in the lives of those who are miles away from obtaining “The American Dream.” A number of barriers prevent four children from reaching the grass on the other side. Beyond these impediments are systematic strategies to secure the best lifestyle for those born with the privileges that are not afforded to African Americans restricted to poverty.


“From Birmingham to Bethlehem” (Reproduction autographed by Sarah Collins Rudolph)
16 x 20 inches
Oil on Canvas

When the suffering of African Americans are generalized, racism is often dismissed as being nothing more than hyperbole and myth. Sarah Collins Rudolph’s personal tribulations and testimony epitomize the black experience in America. She is considered the fifth girl of a tragedy that became a catalyst to much of the civil rights activism that followed. On September 15, 1963, four members of the Ku Klux Klan placed sticks of dynamite at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four little girls named Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, Carol Denise McNair, and Addie Mae Collins (sister of Sarah Collins Rudolph). Ms. Rudolph was one of the 22 victims who were injured on that early Sunday morning. Before any portrait was painted of her, Ms. Rudolph was already a composition of courage that captures the continued strength shown by African Americans. In Jeromyah’s reflection “From Birmingham to Bethlehem” he painted Ms. Rudolph looking off into the distance with the 16th Street Baptist Church present on the right side of the canvas and the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem. The artist used this church in Bethlehem that is considered to be the birthplace of The Messiah to represent the birth of a new kingdom.


“Memories of The Motherland”
16 x 20 inches
Oil on Canvas

This representational painting highlights the concept of diving into heritage and history to recall memories. A memory is often defined as a mental picture of a past experience that one has witnessed in their lifetime. The memory in this piece refers to a mental picture formed of a land not based on personal journey but by flashing back to the images he has seen and stories he has been told of Africa.
“Memories of The Motherland”
While the wars of the world may soon be a trilogy,
Each day we leave for home it’s mentally.
Putting blood on the door post
Used to be our passport.
Now faith in the lamb is a trip to I AM.
This exhibit is about what we inhabit,
and being close enough to grab it.
I’m always reminded,
Everywhere I look I find it,
The shape of the land that shaped me,
I gotta escape this land that hates me,
I see the outline when I focus and look,
I see it in the books,
Even in the food I Cooke-
Sam like Moshe
Was by the river on his birthday,
Running ev’r since his first day.
When YAH paved the way,
What did the Earth say?
It spoke through its actions,
A Mother never lacking,
She was there for our Black King,
When the enemy was tracking,
Now we have her backing.
So let’s be cognizant
that our central intelligence
contains a continent.
This remembrance
is a painting of a time our brains sense
before being moved by entertainment.
My visions are of a new migration,
But these rooms with TV stations
Are like new plantations,
Planting nations of pseudo Afro imitations
Into coffins called couches,
Cerebral deprivation in our own houses,
A woman called Moses would not allow this.
While we’re crying because of political jokers,
She would pull us from our sofas,
Say it’s not over and teach us Sankofa.
Our markers have drawn the marches,
It’s time to paint pictures of departure,
So something in our hearts stir.
For some it may be hard to accept it,
But a promise in this land?
They never kept it.
Every painting is a page for us to engage.
Or reread, I mean reroute,
These are maps no doubt.
Our Red Sea will become the red carpet,
My heart is where my harp sits,
Playing songs we can’t forget.
When they see the clothes we wear,
They think we were never there.
But I’ll never be Roman
just because I’m in Rome.
And regardless of what I have on,
You best believe that Africa is home!
© 2017 Jeromyah Jones


“Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael)” (Autographed by Kwame Ture)
2 x 2 feet
Acrylic on Canvas

Civil Rights leader and Pan-Africanist Kwame Ture signed Jerome’s portrait painting with his personal declaration, “Art MUST always be used as an instrument for Liberation” during his visit to Virginia Commonwealth University in 1981.






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