This North Philly Woman is Here!

Jihan Thomas

The world is crazy. And if you are Black, well you know the rest. The past 10 months have been exhausting. From the Pandemic, injustices Black people, uprisings and incessant murders of Black men and women. As a Black woman, visual artists, and mother I have always been on watch. I think about Black families and all the things we must go through to simply live, love and survive. Our children are our ancestor’s dreams! They are not meant to have their wings that were given at birth clipped short due to bigotry, injustice, and jealousy.

I came across an image of a Black women who was marching in the riots that followed Brianna Taylor and George Floyd’s death. She was heavily pregnant holding up a sign that said, “We are not carrying for 9 months, laboring for 9 hours for you to kneel on their neck for 9 minutes. Black Lives Matter!” I truly felt that sentiment specifically as a Black woman and as a parent. Her statement was so loud to me and I uplift her and women and families who are parenting at this specific time. As an artist her image impacted me and inspired me to make this piece.

Another element to the image was that I am her. I relate to her because the fact that she must hold up a sign to prove her point. to prove her humanity is something Black people, Black people and other People of Color must battle with every day. I have this battle with my job, at school, and every time I step outside my house.

I am a Black woman and mother! I am here! This Black North Philly Woman is here! We are still here! Black women and Black mothers are always at the frontline the revolution because we birth, the future. We birth revolutions. We gon' stay free my looking to our reflections for the answer! We are the answers we are looking for!

I have also included other artwork inspired of what I observe in my community. These images come direct from my sketchbook that I live and touch every day. This is where I pour my rage. My sketchbook is always on the frontline!

Thank you.

Jihan Thomas is a Black visual artist, ceramicist and community arts educator. She lives in North Philadelphia where she uses her art and creativity to serve her community. Her ceramic practice has a foundation in hand building and traditional African pottery techniques of the African diaspora. She has been working as a ceramic educator with The Clay Studio and has worked with many  community clay projects along with the Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center. She believes in arts accessibility and art as a tool for healing and self-expression.