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Jason Neville ('97) Releases Unique Book of Photography



From Jason Neville, Class of 1997:

I'm excited to let you know that a book I recently published is now available at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art gift store.  The book is currently featured in a special display near the registers-- so it should be easy to find.

The book "Juanita’s Hard Times Bus on Hwy 71" is the culmination of a two-year friendship of visits, phone calls, and letter writing between me and Juanita, who I met during fieldwork photographing New Deal Projects across Louisiana.  The cover photograph was featured in the "Louisiana Road Trip" exhibition at JazzFest in 2010.  

Juanita Leonard is an extraordinary woman.  She lives in North Louisiana, where she built a church in her backyard, without any background in carpentry or architecture, just following instructions God gave her.  Statues of angels on the outside of her “Helping Hands Church” were sculpted by hand, from clay dug from her backyard. A self-taught artist, she has painted virtually every surface of the inside and outside of her church, house, car, and all the buildings near her house: “All of my paintings, all I do, everything I am, everything we are, is because of God.  It all comes from God.”

Accompanied by Juanita’s own words and perspectives on God and humanity, and her self-described techniques, the photographs capture the brilliant range and depth of Juanita’s life’s work.  The book is an earnest portrayal of this fascinating, humorous, devoted, and talented woman.  

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