Tampa Bay Born Murals: Nneka Jones, a prolific activist artist

Tampa Bay Born Murals: Nneka Jones, a prolific activist artist

Nneka Jones is a an activist artist working in the Tampa Bay region. They are renowned for their embroidery work, and paintings, and have earned national acclaim for their work. Recently, Jones completed a mural with Bianca Burrows in the Grand Central District of St. Petersburg as part of the SHINE Mural Festival.

Tampa Bay Born Murals is a brand new video series from I Love the Burg and That’s So Tampa that is made possible by Neptune Flood Insurance CEO Trevor Burgess and his husband, Gary Hess, in partnership with Metro Inclusive Health. This series will showcase the diverse array of emerging artists here in the Sunshine City, and provide background information not only on the stunning pieces these artists have completed, but also the creator’s journey into the visual arts.

St. Petersburg is recognized as an open-air art gallery that’s on view to the public 24/7. You’ve arguably passed countless pieces on your commute to work, or out for a bike ride down the Pinellas Trail, but did you know how they arrived there and more importantly, who are the talented artists behind them? Tampa Bay Born Murals is a storyteller series that will deepen your appreciation for the mammoth and marvelous works where you live, while also celebrating those creatives who have made this city better.

Nneka Jones’ work featured in TIME and Washington Post

Meet Nneka Jones, a prolific artist based in the Tampa Bay region whose outstanding embroidery work, and captivating paintings have earned her the cover of TIME Magazine, and The Washington Post. Want to support Nneka Jones? Visit her artist shop to browse prints and more.

Here’s Jones’ artist statement:

My fascination and obsession with Art are deeply rooted in my Trinbagonian background. For the past few years, I have been using Art as a channel to create a more intimate connection between the melting pot that is the Caribbean and the rest of the world. My artwork mimics our human experiences of everyday life with the aim of capturing the most realistic and pure versions of these encounters. Thereby creating a space in which I engage my mind, hands and eyes to create a narration that is translated to the viewer in the form of a 2D or 3D work of art. In the end, I have satisfied my “cravings to create” and I can safely say, “Goodbye Cravings. Hello Art!”

Jones graduated in May 2020 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Tampa and a Marketing minor. She considers herself an activist artist who uses their work to comment on social issues such as sex trafficking of minors and sexual abuse among women and girls of color.

Using art to raise awareness for important topics across the globe

In a feature on Praxis, Jones provided the following artist statement in regards to the purpose of her work:

“As my work evolves, I am reminded of my purpose for creating and how it has molded me as an artist and activist. For the sake of the Caribbean society, it is important for me as a Trinidadian woman of color to raise awareness about topics such as sexual abuse and sex trafficking in an attempt to bring about social change. Through each series and their captivating imagery and symbolism, I hope that this is a call to action for everyone to become aware of sex trafficking and stand up against it.”

In the following video, Nneka Jones details the inspiration behind a mural she created with fellow artist Bianca Burrows for SHINE Mural Festival 2020. The mural itself tackles the issue of overfishing across the globe. You can find the mural at 1957 1st Avenue South.

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