EP 132: Arts, Activism, and Motherhood with Joanna Johnson, the Artist of The Fourth Trimester Journal


In this episode, Kimberly and Joanna discuss Joanna’s upbringing and personal history that ultimately birthed the artwork of The Fourth Trimester Journal. Joanna describes her experience as a Black adolescent growing up in Sweden, her identity as a mother and artist, her participation in Mother Jaguar and MotherCircle, and how she processes experience through her artwork. In addition to Joanna’s insights learned from Mother Circle, they discuss the racial politics of Sweden, performative anti-racism, and making meaningful change on individual and structural levels. They also discuss the importance of Black art, its contributions to the world, and how that influenced the creation and publishing of The Fourth Trimester Journal.



Joanna Johnson is a self-taught artist and illustrator, social worker by trade and single mom from Sweden with roots from both Sweden and Sierra Leone, West Africa. She is also a beloved member of the Jaguar community and the featured artist and illustrator for the newly released The Fourth Trimester Journal. This summer, Joanna was one of only 12 students to be selected the first time she applied for the highly competitive art school, Östra Grevie. She hopes to move into freelance work and can be supported for her art school tuition in the link provided below.


What Joanna Shares:

–Growing up Black in Sweden and history father’s place of origin, Sierra Leone

–Brief history of recent racism in Sweden and impact on Joanna

–Using art to process personal transformation through motherhood and postpartum

–Birth of the art in The Fourth Trimester Journal

–Support Joanna’s art school tuition


What You’ll Hear

–Joanna describes journey joining Kimberly’s MotherCircle course and community

–Journaled through Images

–Artistic style of drawing and upbringing

–Discusses African diaspora in relation to upbringing and parents

–History of Freetown in Sierra Leone, father’s hometown, and Creole heritage

–Awakening process during adolescence reading Black history

–Sweden’s history and participation in Slave Trade

–Identifying as Black, political choice of choosing identity

–Experiencing racism being Black in Sweden

–Rise of Neo-Nazis in Swedens in 1990s, murders of people of color and effect on Joanna

–Blackness as joy, whiteness as violence

–Unique experiences of being biracial and disconnection from ancestral countries

–Beginning of The Fourth Trimester Journal and Joanna’s artwork

–Joanna’s birth experience and finding MotherCircle

–Using artwork to process fourth trimester after actual postpartum period with child

–Importance of rest and nourishment

–Integration of postpartum processing

–Joanna’s experience with MotherCircle that provided safety and nourishment to process difficult birth and postpartum

–The Fourth Trimester Journal publishing behind the scenes and negotiations

–Performativity of anti-racism while racist disceprancies in culture remain unchanged

–Politics of art in relation to imperialism, colonization, and cultural values

–Art as essential

–Examining predominantly white spaces in “white bubbles” to interrogate racism

–Examining whiteness broadly as set standard of norms, expectations, aesthetics, etc.

–Tokenization of Black people in various spaces without real change and as an artist

–The Fourth Trimester Journal as anti-racist work as gaze of a Black woman

–Creating a new vision of motherhood as a Black woman as a political act

–Crowd-sourcing Joanna’s art school tuition as recognition of Black art’s contribution to the world

–Appropriation of Black art, styles as modern colonization, symbolic of actual mining from Africa



Website https://www.gofundme.com/f/black-joy-resilience-send-joanna-to-design-sc




IG: @joannajohnson_art

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