MEET THE ARTISTS
Meet Jerika Broussard...
Jerika attended the University of Mississippi and graduated with a BFA with an emphasis in graphic design. During Jerika’s last year of college she was responsible for creating a company and or product while doing all of the advertising for her final thesis. Jerika was at a lost and had no idea what she was going to do.
That December Jerika’s grandfather became ill with cancer. Jerika’s family rushed him to MD Andersen in Texas to be treated. While at MD Anderson, Jerika’s mother, Rhonda, noticed a petite, frail women sitting in the corner of the waiting room. The woman was alone and had her head veiled; she was obviously a patient at the hospital.
A light bulb went off in Jerika’s mother’s head, calling Jerika immediately with a master plan. ”Jerika I know what you can do for your thesis show,” Rhonda said, “You can make hats for cancer patients, so they feel beautiful.”
Jerika began researching for someone to teach her millinery skills. She came across only one lady located in the south through an online women’s workshop video. Her name was Anita. Mrs. Anita, a woman of color, lived in the heart of New Orleans, Louisiana, and taught Jerika the beauty of and appreciation for constructing cloth caps.
With these caps, Jerika has exhibited across Mississippi and Alabama, cultivating a new, growing appreciation for these crafted caps. So much so, that she has made several for the Kentucky Derby and other formal occasions. Although Jerika loves making hats, Jerika’s true passion has always been art. Jerika has quite a hand for drawing portraits of people and takes several orders throughout the year. No matter what medium of art Jerika uses she says, ”as long as I am creating, I have a purpose.”
A view from the outside (by Alan Longino)...
I remember going to almost all the BFA thesis shows while at the University of Mississippi -- some good, some bad, some bringing forth the worst reaction of just being “meh.” Jerika’s show at the University of Mississippi, however, is one that has stayed vivid in my memory since walking through Gallery 301. Not knowing her then, but only by distant association through friends, I was held captive by the works she had produced and brought forth for that show. There, in a gallery usually reserved for paintings and sculptures of different mediums, were finely manicured pieces of millinery. Hats. Though not just any hats, but cloth caps of a grand and elegant aura, similar to those worn at the Queen’s Royal Ascot. Jerika had made me look at the gallery in an entirely new light – more, she had conceived these hats for use by cancer patients and made art for a positive movement.
Jerika’s work at the Kress, and equally important her clothing selections in her shop Prima Donna, exemplifies this sensitive elegance with a mind towards pleasing sensibilities. I was held equally entranced by the complexity of her window at the Kress – an Op-Art-inspired design using blue painter’s tape and a laurel arrangement embodying the spirit of the work. As a trained graphic designer and artist from Biloxi, MS, Jerika has worked tirelessly since graduating in opening her own vintage clothing and consignment shop, while also producing paintings and works outside of those involved with Kress. A luminous ball of creativity, it is impossible for one to meet her and not fall entranced in her ideas – ever bubbling – and for her incredibly infectious assertive, can-do attitude.
As said by her, “as long as I am creating, I have a purpose.” It’s by her creations that I felt so propelled to write this bio for her, and through her creative purposes she bestows so much more meaning onto those around her. Also, she’ll rip your nuts off.