Univ. of Tampa grad Nneka Jones designs cover for ‘Time’ magazine


TAMPA, Fla – University of Tampa graduate Nneka Jones created a powerful piece of art that became a global sensation in just one day.

“It was crazy and humiliating,” says Jones, a 23-year-old talent from Trinidad and Tobago.

His untitled piece adorns the cover of the stream Time magazine, a call for equality in the form of a redesigned and redesigned American flag.

“We are reshaping it as a symbol of optimism, of working towards a better and more united future,” said Nneka.

Her original piece can be seen at the Epicurean Hotel in Tampa this Saturday. For tickets, click here.

When you see his work, take a closer look.

It is not a painting. It’s embroidery. All hand sewn. The sewing needle is still there.

“I don’t want you to look at the artwork just for the aesthetic,” Jones says. “I want you to get a message out of it or have a dialogue with the people around you.”

The activist artist attributes this unique approach to a UT professor who challenged her to do a painting – without using paint.

His social media work, particularly a traditional painted portrait of George Floyd, caught the attention of an art director at Time.

For a special issue devoted to social injustice and the fight for true equality, all hosted by musician Pharrell Williams no less, Nneka has been called in for the cover.

Due to the delays, she only had 24 hours to sew the whole thing.

“I was like, ‘Nneka, what did you get yourself into?'” Jones said, laughing at the frenzy of finishing.

Her work now sparks conversations and debates, which she rejoices in.

“I get a lot of support from America and around the world,” Jones said. “But also where I’m from, Trinidad and Tobago, because I think I’m the first Trinidadian to cover Time magazine.”



Amanda P. Whitten