Bold, Sassy, Provocative, Evocative
Bev Jenai is originally from Detroit/Ann Arbor MI. She has lived in Sedona, AZ for almost 8 yrs. She early retired from the University of Michigan’s Health System in 2005 (where she worked primarily with “at risk” youth (Mentoring & Health Care Recruitment) in the Human Resources Dept. Not forgetting her joy of painting/sculpting and selling her work in the 60’s, she was prompted to move all the way across the U.S. to Sedona, to seriously reclaim an art career which had been put on hold during her marriage and the raising of four children. She now actively and seriously pursues her dream of becoming a noteworthy African American female artist whose artistic contributions will historically matter. In 2006 she traveled with the Detroit Institute of Arts- Board of Directors to Ghana which resulted in her oil painting and producing a “Tiny Eyes of Ghana” diversity calendar of Ghana’s children. One of the paintings ultimately and unknowingly was the King of Ghana’s, Nene Sakite II’s daughter, who had been featured in the calendar. The painting was presented to him at a program/special reception at the DIA. Bev says, she aesthetically derives encouragement from her environment while reflecting on the influences in her life while living a somewhat reclusive life amidst the beautiful red mountains of Sedona, AZ. Here, she tirelessly paints, sculpts and writes (mainly poetry), poetry which has been recognized and published in several books, most highly recognized, “Go, tell Michelle”, dedicated to our First Lady, Michelle Obama. In 2008, only 100 Women of Color were selected internationally. Bev mainly works in oils/oil pastel, and occasionally when she can afford it she says, clay sculpts/bronzes. Most recently in 2009 she was one of the selected artists in for “Readers’ Portraits of President Obama-NY Times, ArtsBeat Section. In 2010 she was featured as one of the artists in a documentary film entitled “The Sedona Scene” and she was one of 60 internationally, juried and selected artists to be a part of a Commemorative coffee table book in Honor of Oprah Winfrey entitled “A Time, A Season”. “When sub consciousness, the seeds in our winter clad selves turns to flowers, the silent life in us sings with all its might”. As an artist…Bev Jenai says, I AM now singing loudly.
Bev Jenai has been in numerous exhibitions in Sedona, AZ since 2006, and has been juried in Sculpting and Oil Pastels. She was featured in a Gallery showing which she entitled “Sacred Colors” at Canyons Gallery in 2007 with 14 oil/oil pastel works, her featured oil painting was entitled “And…still I Dream”. In 2008 she was chosen to be highlighted in “AAA Highroads” on behalf of the Sedona Visual Arts Coalition. In 2008 oil pastel prints and note cards were produced of “Obama the Man” and as a result in 2009, the Kudos-Verde Valley Newspapers did a front page story and featured article on her work. My goal she says is to pick up the tiniest of nuances/emotion/movement in the faces and figures of my subjects. I want to see the subjects I paint inhale on canvas…even if I’m painting landscapes. That’s when I can exhale”. Her work can be found on her website @ bevjenaiart.com.
Bev studied primarily at Central State University and Eastern Michigan and holds a degree in Social Work. Her art studies have been continuous for years, but, were mainly at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, MI, and with Jon Onye Lockard from the University of Michigan.