Njena Surae Jarvis

Artist in Residence – Spring/Summer of 2023

Pronouns: she/her

Photograph by Tara Geyer


Njena Surae Jarvis is a multimedia sculptor and performance artist, born in Washington, DC. She received her education from The Duke Ellington School of the Arts and graduated from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Initially, Njena worked primarily with costume-based sculpture, creating large cut paper backdrops and other fabricated props to satirically illustrate old stereotypes. However, she later transitioned to using the body as a literal document of one’s inherited legacy, utilizing the casting of the body as a vehicle to deconstruct it into modules. Through this process, she hopes to engage in a larger conversation about identity and inherited legacies.

Njena has participated in numerous group shows, including exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery, The Smith Center for Healing Arts, The Katzen Center, and the August Wilson African American Cultural Center. She has also expanded her mediums to include body adornment and exhibited her work at Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week. As a musician and performance artist, Njena has been featured in The New York Times, Italian Vogue, and Interview Magazine. She has toured extensively throughout Europe and Australia and currently lives and works in Washington, DC.

Recently, Njena and her mother, renowned artist Martha Jackson Jarvis, were commissioned to create an interactive sculpture for the 11th Street Bridge Park’s first and largest public artwork in Anacostia, Washington, DC.