CONNERSMITH. Presents Jessica Maria Hopkins Determination

By Editorial Team on March 9, 2021
Jessica Maria Hopkins: Becoming Me (detail), 2018, acrylic and watercolor on canvas, 24 x 24 inches.
Currently on view.

TO VIEW: click here

CONNERSMITH is pleased to announce Determination, an exhibition of paintings by Jessica Maria Hopkins. Hopkins reveals the strength, resilience and innate beauty of the Black female body in these powerful self-portraits. Jessica Maria Hopkins (b.1983) is a painter whose Howard University training aligns her with the legacies of Alma Thomas and the AfriCOBRA movement. Hopkins draws deeply from her personal experiences to create vibrant portrayals of human vulnerability, strength and renewal.


Each figure I paint narrates my growth as a woman of color.

As a cancer patient, my body was transitioning without me having any knowledge or control of what was going on. I had to accept physical changes along with my recovery. This traumatic, physically transforming experience motivated me to view myself as artistic medium. My body has been primed, stretched, cut and painted. My blood is paint, the brush is the needle, and my body is the canvas. I depict confusion, pain, and optimism with color. My neutral skin tone signifies inner calm, while colors create disturbance. The colors on my face reflect different levels of pain and light. Through all of this, I see the light, a spiritual light, which guided my journey. The red represents my heart and the emotion of love; colorless feathers signify my perseverance and courage.

I integrate wood patterns in my works because the grain of wood reveals the secret history of trees—from periods of disease and atrophy to regeneration. Butterfly and cheetah imagery represents sacred markings of restored health and life. Patterns and colors across my face suggest a type of mask created from a female viewpoint in opposition to society’s perceptions and constructions of beauty and equality. Passages of masking indicate that I am leaving behind roles and labels while exploring and taking on new identities.

These paintings document how I embraced every obstacle as the means to become a stronger person.

– Jessica Maria Hopkins