I find myself when I find my community. My blackness becomes understood, my voice is heard and I feel a sense of belonging. The black diasporas in Naarm/Melbourne share a wealth of experience surrounding their black identities. We are a community that is rich in diversity; food, culture, knowledge, and stories that all influence our identities. This body of work is an intimate exploration of the influences that build our identities through experiences and our communities.

Self-directed storytelling with my sitters as co-creators is a centred in my methodology. I aim to collaborate creatively to share their stories and experiences in an ethical and considerate manner. This intimate process allows me to expand and develop new relationships as I enter the home of friends and strangers. I have the privilege to spend time in a safe space, where knowledge and cultural identities are shared, but not extracted. The project evolves to not only be of a single author, but instead a co-authored archipelago of belonging. 

Working collaboratively in the home, the work uses a variety of still and moving images to capture the elements that shape our identities. Each family shares a different story and experience; through their voices we hear intimate experiences that have developed their sense of self. Using my positionality as a black woman, there is a reclamation of retelling these stories that have always been written for us, not by us. I Was Not Born Big exists to create space for my community to celebrate our blackness and challenge the stereotypes that are often projected onto us by the wider media.

instagram: @jadejonesphoto



portrait of 2 people
Jade Jones, ‘Elizabeth visits Jojo from Ghana’, 2023, photograph
Person applys makeup
Jade Jones, ‘Jaz in her bedroom’, 2023, photograph
man in living room
Jade Jones, ‘Meen in the living room, 2023, photograph
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Jade Jones