Jae Jarrell

Installation Views

b. 1935, Cleveland, Ohio Lives and works in Cleveland, OH

Jae Jarrell(b. 1935), née Elaine Annette Johnson, is and American artist and fashion designer, and a cofounder of AFRICOBRA.  Jae was raised in Cleveland, Ohio, in a family steeped in fashion knowledge. Her grandfather was a professional tailor, and her uncle was a haberdasher, selling the notions needed for sewing.  Jae and her mother would frequent vintage clothing stores together and admire the way the outfits were made. Jae taught herself how to make her own clothing, and reveled in the fact that her fashion was unique, and had a secret, vintage past.


AFRICOBRA’s goal was to understand and express the visual principals that defined black culture. As an artist adept at fashion design, Jae created groundbreaking wearable artworks that interpreted the core ideas of the group. She also expanded on those ideas, developing abstract, idiosyncratic methods of translating black positivity into fashion objects.

Exhibition History

How to Remain Human, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH



Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY


AFRICOBRA: Philosophy, Logan Center Gallery, Chicago, IL


AFRICOBRA: Art and Impact, The DuSable Museum of African American History, Chicago, IL


AFRICOBRA/Farafindugu, Afro-American Historic & Cultural Museum, Philadelphia, PA


AFRICOBRA III, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA

AFRICOBRA III, Howard University, Washington, D.C.


AFRICOBRA II, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL

AFRICOBRA II, Howard University, Washington, D.C.

AFRICOBRA II, Malcolm X College, Chicago, IL

AFRICOBRA II, Hati Gallery, Rochester, NY

AFRICOBRA II, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY


AFRICOBRA II, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY

AFRICOBRA II, Langston Hughes Center for Visual & Performing Arts, Buffalo, NY

AFRICOBRA I, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL



AFRICOBRA I, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY

AFRICOBRA I, Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, Roxbury, MA

AFRICOBRA I, Black Expo, Chicago, IL