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Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe

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Information about Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe

Profile image of Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Photographer
Civic Activist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Sage Green
Favorite Food:
Chocolate
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anguilla
Favorite Quote:
If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me.

Birthplace

Born:
7/9/1951
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Photographer
Civic Activist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Sage Green
Favorite Food:
Chocolate
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anguilla
Favorite Quote:
If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me.

Birthplace

Born:
7/9/1951
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Photographer Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe was born on July 9, 1951 in Chicago, Illinois. Art has been a life-long pursuit for Moutoussamy-Ashe. Her mother, Elizabeth Moutousammy, an interior designer and father, John Moutoussamy, an architect, encouraged her artistic side. Taking advantage of the opportunities available to them in Chicago, she began her formal training at age eight when her parents enrolled her in classes at the Art Institute of Chicago. When it was time for undergraduate studies, Moutoussamy-Ashe moved east to New York and received a B.F.A. degree in photography from The Cooper Union School of Art. After graduating in 1975, she worked as a graphic artist and photojournalist for WNBC-TV. In October 1976, Moutoussamy-Ashe was hired to take photographs at the United Negro College Fund tennis event, where she met tennis great, Arthur Ashe. The two married on February 20, 1977.

Throughout her career, Moutoussamy-Ashe has had frequent group and solo exhibitions at museums and galleries around the world including the Leica Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York; the Smithsonian and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.; Galerie Herve Odermat in Paris and The Excelsior in Florence among others. Publications such as Life Magazine, The New York Times, People and the Associated Press have also featured her photography, disseminating it to a wider audience. In 2001, she hosted the documentary Crucible of the Millennium, which PBS broadcast nationwide.

Moutoussamy-Ashe also taught photography courses at the high school and college levels and continues to lecture about this subject matter at many educational and cultural institutions. Outside of the field of photography, she has been actively engaged in philanthropic efforts involving social, health, and community-based issues. As an activist and civic leader, she has served as the director of the Arthur Ashe Endowment for the Defeat of AIDS, a former trustee of her alma mater, The Cooper Union, and a one-time Alternate Representative of the United States to the United Nations, a presidential appointment.

Her photographs contain strong narrative and documentary elements. Moutoussamy-Ashe has displayed a proclivity towards African and African American art. This is evident in the three full collections documenting her travels in West Africa or her book about the Gullah community of South Carolina, Daufuskie Island: A Photographic Essay. She reveals her immediate personal experience in Daddy and Me, which features photos of her late husband, Arthur Ashe, and her daughter, Camera. She has published numerous books featuring not only her own work, but also that of unknown black photographers of the past. In 2001, her fourth book of photographs was published, titled The African Flower: The Singing of Angels. The narrative of her photographs extends beyond a picture or a series of pictures to create a greater context for the artist herself within photography, womanhood and the African American experience.

Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 15, 2007.

See how Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe's interview, session 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe and her aunt list their favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe recalls her paternal grandfather's move from Guadeloupe to New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her aunt's home
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe recalls her paternal grandfather's move from New Orleans to Chicago
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jeanne Ashe-Moutoussamy describes her father's childhood in Chicago
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her father's education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe recalls her father's relationship with John F. White
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her father's architectural work in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her father's architectural work in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe's aunt describes her teaching career in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe's aunt reflects upon her teaching career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her aunt's interest in dancing
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe's aunt remembers her upbringing
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe's aunt reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe remembers her mother's talent for singing
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her mother's childhood
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe remembers her parents' marriage
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe recalls visiting the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe remembers becoming interested in photography
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe recalls her schools in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe recalls her favorite school subjects
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her college education, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her college education, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe remembers the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her style of photography
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe talks about the types of cameras
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jeanne Ashe-Moutoussamy talks about the significance of visual images
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe remembers her first exhibition of photographs
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe recalls Arthur Ashe's victory at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes Arthur Ashe's reception at West Point
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe remembers meeting Arthur Ashe for the first time
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe talks about Arthur Ashe's congenital heart condition
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe recalls traveling to South Africa with Arthur Ashe in 1977
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes Arthur Ashe's views on apartheid
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe recalls a lesson from Arthur Ashe
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her first book project, 'Daufuskie Island,' pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe talks about preserving the Gullah culture
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her second book project, 'Viewfinders'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe's interview, session 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her first book project, 'Daufuskie Island,' pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes the impact of development on Daufuskie Island
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe talks about republishing her book, 'Daufuskie Island'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her research on African American female photographers, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her research on African American female photographers, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe recalls the impact of her second book, 'Viewfinders'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her family life in the 1980s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe remembers Arthur Ashe's HIV diagnosis
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes how Arthur Ashe contracted AIDS
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe recalls Arthur Ashe's decision not to disclose his AIDS diagnosis
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe recalls Arthur Ashe's announcement of his AIDS diagnosis
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her children's book, 'Daddy and Me'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her life after Arthur Ashe's death in 1996
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe talks about her grieving process
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe remembers publishing her book, 'The African Flower'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes how Arthur Ashe might have responded to Don Imus' racist comments
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe talks about the Arthur Ashe Endowment for the Defeat of AIDS
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe recalls creating a website in memory of Arthur Ashe
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes the Arthur Ashe Tennis Center and Library in Soweto, South Africa
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her enjoyment of film photography
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes her future projects
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe talks about her daughter, Camera Ashe
  • Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe talks about the death of her aunt
  • Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe describes how she would like to be remembered