Stella Jones Gallery

- THE Place for Fine Black Art-

Bill Pajaud


Tayo Adenaike


Pajaud was born and spent much of his childhood in New Orleans, where his father was a jazz musician who frequently played at funerals. As a teenager, Pajaud and his mother lived in Tennessee and Texas, and he was physically injured in two incidences of racial violence. Having received a full academic scholarship to attend Xavier University, he returned to New Orleans to study art. After completion of his arts degree, he held several positions unrelated to art before becoming the art director for the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company  in 1957, one of the city’s largest and most successful black-owned businesses. Over the course of his thirty-year career at Golden State, Pajaud rose to the position of vice-president and, more significantly, founded the firm’s corporate art collection in 1965. As curator of the collection, he oversaw the acquisition of works by Richmond Barthé, Romare Bearden, John Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, Samella Lewis, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Charles White, and many other Black artists of note. In his own work, Black women were a frequent subject, chosen by the artist to underscore their centrality to black families and culture. His work provides positive images that convey vivid and expressive moments of the everyday lives of Black folk.

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