Joan Marie Kelly has been living and teaching in Asia since 2005 as
a Senior Lecturer at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
She has pursued a career in painting and ceramics yet Asia inspired
her to develop a social art practice. The act of painting became an
encounter with marginalized communities. She has conducted social
art workshops in neighbourhoods of Kolkata, Shenzhen and Singapore,
empowering people through creativity. Kelly majored in painting but
is just as comfortable with sculpting in clay using various firing
techniques from wood fire to Ruku. She participated in wood firings
in Japan and the USA. Her recent solo exhibitions were held in New
Delhi India, Blue Mountain Gallery New York City and Smith College
USA. Recent Biennaleís include, Beijing Izmir Turkey, Korea, and
Casablanca. A 2012 publication of her work "Zones of Contact: The
Public Art of Joan Marie Kelly" includes an essay by New York Art
critic David Cohen.
refer to myself as an Urban Ecologist, one who investigates the
ecosystem of the city initiating artistic connections with migrant
and marginalized communities. My aim is to empower communities with
the experience of creation. I try to reinvigorate concepts of figure
painting and drawing by collaborating with ethnographic practices.
Most recently my focus has been on initiating participatory drawing
workshops in minority communities of oral language speakers. Iím
working with several linguists and the community of oral speakers.
The linguists have learned the oral language and worked with the
community for the past decade writing the new text for the oral
language. While doing this they have documented the local folktales
and traditions. I am leading a group of artists to create the first
illustrated children's books in the new text of these unknown
folktales. The communities of oral speakers we are currently making
the books for are the Syuba community in Nepal, Abui community in
Alor Indonesia, and the Ao community in Nagaland in North East