JIS News

‘Jamaican Journey’, a 105-page exploration of the island through art and poetry by artist Susan Alexander, was launched recently at the Broward College/South Regional Library in Pembroke Pines, Florida, United States of America (USA).
Mrs. Alexander said that the book, which contains drawings, paintings and sculptures of Jamaican subjects, captures the beauty of the people, land, and culture, while at the same time highlighting her Jamaican experience spanning more than 50 years.
Consul General to Miami, Sandra Grant Griffiths, in her remarks at the launch, described Mrs. Alexander’s work as “singularly special”, creating a “prism through which the beauty, grace and strength of our country and its people are reflected”.
She noted that the “lyrical co-mingling of art and poetry,” as reflected in the book, “lend us new eyes to discern facets of cultural character that we often fail to perceive in the positive.”
The pages depict picturesque scenes of places and people across the island, some 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, Mrs. Alexander came to Jamaica some 50 years ago. As a resident of the island, Ms. Alexander immersed herself in the island culture by becoming heavily involved with art education.
Along with her late husband, Neville Alexander, she founded the Upstairs Downstairs Gallery in Kingston. With special emphasis on art education for young persons, the institution also mounts exhibitions for local and foreign artists.
She also initiated art programmes in penal institutions across the island, and taught in Jamaica’s adult literacy programme during the 1970s.
The book launch was held as part of activities by the Broward College/South Regional Library to mark Black History Month in February.
Proceeds from raffles at the event will go towards the Louise Bennett-Coverley Scholarship, which is tenable at the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston.
The scholarship was initiated by the Florida-based folklore group, Jamaica Folk Revue, following the death of the cultural ambassador in July 2006.

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