MEET THE REVOLUTIONARIES: Najma
Leslie "Najma" Wilson
Najma Ma’at Wilson has been a fiber artist for over 30 years. Initially her interest in traditional African textiles impelled her to study fiber design at the College for Creative Studies (CCS). There she studied weaving, dye techniques, silk screen and jewelry and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts. Upon graduation, Najma established her own design business, Hand and Spirit, creating fabrics for body adornment and interiors. Many corporations feature her wall hangings: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Sinai Hospital, Crittenden Hospital, Henry Ford Hospital, Compuware of New Jersey as well as private galleries. During this time, Najma also presented fiber workshops and was asked to be a consultant to the Detroit Public Schools. Her love for children and her true desire to give back to the community lead her to a Master’s Degree in Education from Cambridge College in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Najma worked in education for the past 18 years for the Detroit Public Schools. She is currently retired but taught art as an adjunct professor in the Art Education Department at Wayne State University. Her past teaching experiences include Fashion Illustration and Performing Arts at Cass Technical High School, as well as Designing the African American History art and cultural program which has proven to be effective and elevating academic achievement and self esteem in Black youth. Her teaching experience has also taken her to Ghana, Benin and Senegal, West Africa where she educated children for 2 years.
Her fiber work has been exhibited in Boston, Chicago, Detroit and Washington D.C. She is a board member of Arts Extended Gallery, past secretary of National Conference of Artists Michigan Chapter, as well as a member of National Art Education Association (NAEA), Detroit Art Teacher’s Association, and Surface Design Association. Currently Najma is co-owner of Detroit Fiber Works gallery located in the historic Avenue of Fashion.