Tampa artist's masterpieces live beyond gallery walls by highlighting social injustices, activism

Nneka Jones uses lots of materials in her art projects. 

"These are mixed media with paint and fabric and collaging front area as well as combining embroidery as well," she shared. 

The 23-year-old artist was born and raised in Trinidad and graduated from the University of Tampa last year. 

"I spent long hours in the studio. I probably spent more hours in the studio space while I was at the University of Tampa than I did in my dorm room," Jones explained. 

The mixed-media artist uses her unusual style to tell visuals stories about societal issues.  

"For it to be art that is existed beyond the walls of the gallery or walls in your home, but it exists in your mind and your heart," she said.   

She uses her art as a way to highlight social injustices and activism. 

"I've used my artwork over this time even before the pandemic to highlight these issues that were taboo to speak about," Jones stated. 

Issues that she hopes her artwork will change. 

READ Tampa business owner inspires students to 'dream big' through power of positive art

"If it is affecting people in society in a negative way, I have to in some way have my artwork to focus on this issue and allow people to see this in a different light bring a different perceptive," Jones said. 

Jones's popularity has been growing. Last year her embroidered work picturing an American flag was on the cover of Time Magazine. 

"Kind of left the America flag incomplete," she explained. "So that it shows that America is a work in progress." 

She was also commissioned by the Washington Post to create a portrait of Vice President Kamala Harris.  "It was a very historic portrait," she offered. 

Through determination and drive, Jones is threading the needle of helping others through, thought-provoking art. Jones has some of her artwork being shown at the Tampa Museum of Art and other Bay area galleries.

MORE GOOD NEWS: Download the free FOX 13 News app for more #WeLiveHere stories like this