Jamaican Journey, a book of photographic reproductions of Jamaican artist, Susan Alexander’s paintings and sculptures, had its United Kingdom (UK) launch at the Jamaican High Commission, in London, on September 17.
The book, which has been described as a significant contribution to Jamaican art history, covers works by the artist that span almost her entire career.
Ms. Alexander was born in New York, but moved to Jamaica in 1951. As an artist, she has worked with watercolours, oils, bronze and polyform. Her work has been extensively exhibited in Jamaica and elsewhere. Among her leading sources of inspiration are Jamaica’s folk culture, the individualism of its people, religion, mythology and dance as an indigenous art form.
Her love for Jamaican dance led to a long friendship with renowned Jamaican choreographer, Jackie Guy who, as well as attending the event, created a dance piece dedicated to her, especially for the launch.
Artist, Susan Alexander, at the launch of her book, ‘Jamaican Journey’, held at the Jamaican High Commission, in London, on September 17.
Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Burchell Whiteman called Jamaican Journey a particularly beautiful book and a joyful celebration of a wonderful person.
“The book is pictorially exciting, with its excellent photographs of her paintings and sculptures and it is enriched by poetry by Caribbean writers, American spirituals, Jamaican folk songs and the bible, with popular song writers. So, we have everything from St. Paul and Derek Walcott to Ernie Smith and Desmond Dekker,” Mr. Whiteman said.
He also praised Ms. Alexander for her nearly 60 years of contribution to Jamaican life, noting her teaching in the prisons and in the Government’s adult education programmes as well as her support for young artists.
Ms. Alexander and her husband, Neville, founded the Upstairs Downstairs Gallery in Kingston to promote the work of young Jamaican artists. In 1978, she received the Marcus Garvey Award for Arts. In 1999, she was inducted into the Caribbean Foundation for the Arts’ Hall of Fame.
“This book, a small sample of my work, is a tribute to my adopted homeland,” she said. “It captures, I hope, some highlights of my Jamaican journey,” Ms. Alexander said.