Finding Louise E. Jefferson
Against the Grain

Finding Louise E. Jefferson

Finding Louise E. Jefferson
May 14, 2021 | 5 pm CEST | with Tasheka Arceneux-Sutton, artist, educator, designer, and researcher


This lecture is centered around the life and works of Louise E. Jefferson, a polymath Black artist, graphic designer, calligrapher, illustrator and photographer, whose significant contributions to American visual culture are still largely unknown. More than sharing research findings and biographical notes, this presentation aims to provide insights into “chasing images”—that is to say, researching history as a graphic designer. Taking participants in a metaphorical road trip through the meandering paths of discovery, Tasheka will lead us from her first encounter with the works of Louise E. Jefferson, to opening the box with her archived works at The Amistad Research Center in New Orleans, and beyond.

Tasheka Arceneaux-Sutton (she/her) is an Associate Professor of Graphic Design at North Carolina State University. She has taught graphic design at Southeastern Louisiana University and taught Typography at Loyola Marymount University. She is also a faculty in the low-residency MFA program in Graphic Design at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Arceneaux is the principal at Blacvoice Design, a studio specializing in branding, electronic media, identity, illustration, print, and publication design, for educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and small businesses. She has provided design services for the Museum of Contemporary Arts (MOCA), HarperCollins, Loyola University New Orleans, Tulane University, and Loyola Marymount University’s LeBand Art Gallery. The use of typography has a strong presence in her work—she is a type enthusiast who enjoys hand-lettering, typesetting, and deconstructing type through a combination of analog and digital processes. Arceneaux has exhibited work nationally and abroad, and in 2013, her work was featured in Idea: International Graphic Art and Typography magazine.

Arceneaux’s research focuses on discovering Black people omitted from the graphic design history canon. She’s also interested in the visual representation of Black people in the media and popular culture, primarily through the lens of stereotypes. She is the co-curriculum designer for Black Design in America: African Americans and the African Diaspora in Graphic Design, from the 19th through the 21st Century—Black Design in America is a series of pre-recorded BIPOC centered history courses. Her essay “A Black Renaissance Woman: Louise E. Jefferson” is a part of a collection of essays in the book Baseline Shift: Untold Stories of Women in Graphic Design History, which was released in October of 2021 by Princeton Architectural Press.

Arceneaux holds an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, where she also worked as an in-house designer in the Office of Public Affairs. She also has a BA in English from Loyola University New Orleans.

Register here for the Against the Grain Online Course to watch the lecture synchronously and asynchronously


This lecture is part of the Against the Grain Online Course:

April 16 | 5 pm CEST
Decolonizing Colonial Desire
with Uzma Rizvi

April 23 | 5 pm CEST
Deforestation as Epistemicide
with Franca López Barbera

April 30 | 5 pm CEST
Imperial Fevers, Invisible Lives
with Edna Bonhomme

May 7 | 5 pm CEST
The Frame of History
with Evan Nicole Brown

May 14 | 5 pm CEST
Finding Louise E. Jefferson
with Tasheka Arceneux-Sutton

May 21 | 5 pm CEST
Ladies of Letters
with Bahia Shehab

May 28 | 5 pm CEST
Salted Waters in the Whorls of Time
with Luiza Prado de O. Martins

June 4 | 5 pm CEST
Visualising the Invisible
with Sria Chatterjee