Barbara Jones-Hogu was born in Chicago. She received a BA from Howard University in 1959, a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1964, and a MS with a concentration in printmaking from the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago in 1970.
Jones-Hogu is an influential artist associated with the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. As a member of OBAC (Organization for Black American Culture), she was one of the muralists who created the important “Wall of Respect” in 1967 on the south side of Chicago – a public work that inspired the creation of socially, politically and culturally themed murals across the urban American landscape. In 1968, Jones-Hogu became a founding member of the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists (AfriCOBRA). As a member of AfriCOBRA she participated in formulating the group’s mission statement, which stressed black independence and artistic self-determination.
Her signature use of lettering in her artwork became a hallmark of the AFRICOBRA aesthetic. Her famed screen prints created during her participation in the group were exhibited widely at venues including the Studio Museum in Harlem, Howard University, Cornell University and the National Center of Afro-American Artists in Boston. Several books and catalogues over the years have included her work, and she is featured in 2005’s <i>Creating Their Own Image: The History of African American Women Artists</i>, widely considered the most important text on the subject. Unite, perhaps her most well known screen printed image, is included in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.