Last Saturday morning, (Feb. 7) at a book launch and reception, Jamaican artist, and author, Susan Alexander spoke of her exploration of the island through drawing, painting and sculpture of Jamaican subjects exhibited in her 105 page publication – Jamaican Journey.
While it provides entertainment, Ms. Alexander revealed that the artistic work of a selection of people, land, culture and essential beauty was her inspiration since she began her career as an artist more than 50 years ago, at the same time highlighting her Jamaican journey, hence the title of her book.
She was speaking at the Broward College/South Regional Library in Pembroke Pines as part of the Black History Month activities taking place at this location during February.
Consul General Sandra Grant Griffiths in lauding her artistic efforts, spoke of the lyrical co-mingling of art and poetry which depicted the author’s journey.
Describing the work of Susan Alexander as singularly special, Mrs. Grant-Griffiths said that the author created a prism through which the beauty, grace and strength of our country and its people are reflected. She continued that the selection of the artist also “lend us new eyes which discern and displayed facets of cultural character that we often fail to perceive in the positive”.
Proceeds from raffles at the event will go towards the Louise Bennett-Coverley scholarship at the Edna Manley College for Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston.
The scholarship was initiated by the Florida based folkloric group, Jamaica Folk Revue, following the death of Jamaica’s cultural ambassador in July 2006.
Jamaican Journey throughout its more than 100 pages, crafts a presentation of market scenes, massed humans and love of horses done in drawings and paintings and sculptures, creatively twinned with relevant poetry. The pages depicted picturesque scenes and people across the island, the first by the artist/author.
Some of the scenes were heavily influenced by dance movements, revealing the period of the artist’s life as a dancer with the former Eddy Thomas Dance Company in Jamaica.
A native of the United States of America, Ms. Alexander migrated to Jamaica at an early age, some 50 years ago.
Her desire to paint and model was influenced also at an early age, by her parents. To enhance her career, she attended renowned art institutions in Europe.
As a resident of Jamaica, Ms. Alexander immersed herself in the island culture by becoming heavily involved with art education. Along with her late husband, Neville Alexander, Ms. Alexander founded the Upstairs Downstairs Gallery in Kingston. With special emphasis on art education for young persons, the institution also mounted exhibitions for local and foreign artists.
She also initiated and taught art programs in penal institutions across the island, as well as taught in Jamaica’s Adult Literacy program during the 1970’s.