Ayana V. Jackson (born 1977) is an American photographer and filmmaker. Born in Livingston, New Jersey, she received her B.A. in Sociology from Spelman College in 1999. In 2005, at the invitation of professor Khatarina Sieverding, she studied critical theory and large format printing at the University of Arts Berlin. She is best known for her focus on Contemporary Africa and the African Diaspora, most notably the series African by Legacy, Mexican by Birth, Leapfrog (a bit of the Other) Grand Matron Army, and Archival Impulse.
Ayana Vellissia Jackson was born in Livingston, New Jersey and raised in East Orange, New Jersey where her family has long held residence. Her grandmother Angenetta Still Jackson, is a descendant of Leah Arthur Jones—a member of the founding family of New Jersey’s first Black Settlement, Lawnside, New Jersey. Her grandfather, J. Garfield Jackson, was Essex County’s first African American principal. The city of East Orange later named Jackson Academy elementary school after him. She traveled to Ghana in 2001, where she visited her family’s compound in North Odorkor. During this trip she produced her first photography series, “Full Circle: A Survey of Hip Hop in Ghana.”