James Drake, Jaynelle Across the Sea

James Drake, Jaynelle Across the Sea, 2006


James Drake
born 1946 Lubbock, Texas; lives Santa Fe, New Mexico
Jaynelle Across the Sea
charcoal on paper
120 x 86 in.
New Mexico Museum of Art Museum purchase with funds from the Friends of Contemporary Art and an anonymous donor, 2008, 2008.14, © 2020 James Drake
photo by Blair Clark

James Drake’s young cousin, Jaynelle, was living with her family in Japan where her father was stationed with the US Air Force when the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The family was not in the immediate vicinity of the bombs, but when Jaynelle passed away suddenly at the age of 3, it was determined that it was due to a brain tumor that her family attributed to the effects of radiation.

Jaynelle Across the Sea is part of a series entitled War in Heaven, which includes large-scale portraits of individuals impacted by war, all created from torn paper, tape, and charcoal. Like millions of others affected by war, Jaynelle’s monumental portrait connects New Mexico, as the birthplace of the bomb, to tragic stories around the world.