Woman in the street cafe, named Bai Yan
Oil on canvas        91 cm X 60 cm


Joan Kelly


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.

Artists Statement:
I 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 India.