Josephine Vida Barnes (JOVIBA) was born in Cape Palmas, Liberia, West Africa. She grew up in New Rochelle, NY and studied art at Mt. Ida College in Newton, MA; Providence College in Providence, RI and The Art Students League in New York City, NY. In the mid-1970’s she worked at the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts and the National Center for Afro-American Artists in Boston, MA.
She has recently retired after numerous years working in the public and private sectors while continuing to create her art privately and as a freelancer. Retirement has now allowed her to devote all of her focus on what she loves most.
Her artwork is inspired by the visions, memories, and stories of her birthplace. Her work is also a tribute to the colorful souls, spirits, and images of the African woman. These women whose roles as mothers, sisters, friends, nurturers, care givers, and market women are captured in her work as they go about their everyday life. The music and songs of Africa provide the background for her inspiration. When painting and drawing she listens to the music of her favorite African musicians, Fela Kuti, Brenda Fassie, Prince Nico, Angelique Kidjo, Hugh Masekela, The Mathotella Queens and others. Fela’s song “LADY” is the most inspirational –“If you call am woman, African woman, no go gree. She go say, she go say, I, be lady, oh.”
JOVIBA uses mixed media when creating her work and not only includes watercolor, pastels, charcoal, pen and ink but other products and techniques to develop texture in some of her work. She continues to experiment with different medium and considers her new journey as a work in progress.