Martha Jackson Jarvis

Washington, DC

Martha Jackson Jarvis’ sculptures have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the United States and abroad, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; the Studio Museum of Harlem, NY; Snug Harbor Cultural Center in Staten Island, NY; Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, NC; Anacostia Museum in Washington, D.C.; and the Tretyakov Gallery Moscow, Russia. Her numerous awards include a Virginia Groot Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, The Penny McCall Foundation Grant, and Lila Wallace Arts International Travel Grant. Jackson Jarvis has undertaken public and corporate art commissions for the Philip Morris corporation in Washington, D.C.; Merck Company in PA; Fannie Mae in Washington, D.C.; Washington Metro Transit Authority, Anacostia Station; New York Transit Authority, Mount Vernon; South Carolina Botanical Gardens in Clemson; Prince George’s County Courthouse in Upper Marlboro, MD; Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC; and MS/HS 368 Bronx, NY.

The Garden Wall

Martha Jackson Jarvis

Artist Bio

The Garden Wall explores African slave architecture’s scale and building techniques, including tabby, a building material used by early African-American and Caribbean slaves in which seashells are crushed and embedded in cement for structural strength and also used as a built-in measure of protection from outsiders and from the harsh natural environment. Layered in the garden pantheon is a crow image; the emblem of mysterious outsiders, crows emerge out of lore, legend, and stereotype as compelling allegorical figures in African-American life and landscape. Using a composite of materials, The Garden Wall project incorporates photographs from the archives of the historic Penn Papers and from the archives of the Museum of the Confederacy. These historic photographs are placed into a permanent exterior metal enamel on the façade of tabby and mosaic walls. The Garden Wall reveals an authentic narrative that is inextricably linked to the land and the cultures imprinted and encoded there.

Award Year