Jenny Honnert Abell’s evocative book covers tell the story of the landscape, people, and history of Senegal with equal parts whimsy and solemnity. Using a diverse range of materials, she presents richly textured collages that speak of the culture of Senegal with materials that recall its natural environment, from its sandy shores to its towering Baobab trees. Embedded within her imaginative (and vaguely playful) scenes are images that betray the more serious side of Senegal’s past. In one of her book covers, for example, an island surrounded by beautiful blue water is ominously shadowed by shackled hands, alluding to Senegal’s active role in the slave trade.
Abell visited Senegal in December of 2012, where she absorbed “every sensory experience possible that could be filtered into the ten pieces I was to produce, reflecting these people and their world.” Of her visit Abell says “It has been a gift.” Abell has been teaching and producing art for more than three decades. Her work has been exhibited extensively around the world in group and solo exhibitions. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors.