Jamaica’s Art Pioneers – Louisa “Ma Lou” Jones O.D. (1913 – 1992)

Louisa Jones "Ma Lou" - Bowl (n.d.). Collection: Museums of History and Ethnography, Institute of Jamaica

The following post – another in our Jamaica’s Art Pioneers series – was researched and written by Dwayne Lyttle, Curatorial Assistant at the NGJ.

Louisa Jones O.D., popularly known as Ma Lou, has been described as a national treasure and a master practitioner of the African-Jamaican pottery tradition.

At approximately nine years old Ma Lou started learning how to make clay pots, mainly from her mother, an uncle’s wife and three maternal aunts. By the age of thirteen she started to work as a potter full time and from that point on began a career which would span a period of 67 years. She primarily produced yabba pots, cooling jars, coal stoves and flower pots, particularly for household use and domestic applications. Of all the ceramic forms within the African-Jamaican tradition Ma Lou rarely made the water storage vessel known as the Monkey Jars.

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