I ♥ JaNY is a video portrait of Jany Tomba, one of the first black super models. At an early age, in the 1960s, Jany experienced emigrating with her family from the dictatorship in Haiti to New York. The film opened at Taidehalli in Helsinki and was featured in the Alice in Wonderland exhibition as part of Turku European Capital of Culture 2011.
Ever since Sasha was a child, she has been fascinated and inspired by Jany’s life as a model, a mother, an artist, and now as a grandmother. Huber was curious to find out what expectations and dreams Jany had, and how the various incidents in her life led her into a career that she knew almost nothing about – that of a successful, ʻearly-generationʼ black fashion model, spending over 25 years with the Ford Modelling Agency.
The work became a way for Jany to get her voice heard by generations of young Black women. By her example she encouraged them to embrace themselves for what they are and, for instance, to wear their hair naturally curly. She was able to apply her positive energy and artistic creativity in fashion styles and designs that eventually evolved into visual art in New York.
She loves the city that has become her home, but that does not mean she has ever forgotten about her homeland, Haiti. It is Haitiʼs lush, but endangered nature that Jany has missed most during all the years she has lived in the concrete jungle of NYC.
Visit Sasha Huber’s site for more information on the artist and the short film.