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Thorne Gallery Exhibits Contemporary Jamaican Art

KEENE, N.H. 10/15/01 - Contemporary Jamaican art and how it reflects the history of the Caribbean island will be explored in an upcoming exhibit at the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery at Keene State College. The exhibit “Soon Come: The Art of Contemporary Jamaica” will open Saturday, Nov. 3, and continue through Sunday, Dec. 9, at the gallery, located on Wyman Way on the Keene State campus.

“Soon Come” (a Jamaican expression meaning “great things happen when the time is right”) brings together paintings, drawings, ceramics, sculptures, textiles, and mixed media works by 20 Jamaicans ranging from premier artists to self-taught individuals.

The exhibit explores the themes of nationalism, individual identity, the consequences of the Jamaican diaspora, and international influences in shaping Jamaican art, said Maureen Ahern, director of the gallery. She added that the Thorne is presenting the exhibit in support of the Keene State College Commission on the Status of Diversity and Multiculturalism.

“Soon Come” is a program of Exhibits USA. Exhibits USA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance, is generously supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the H&R; Block Foundation, Cooper Foundation, Richard Florsheim Art Fund, Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Sprint, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the state arts agencies of Arkansas, Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.

The exhibit’s themes are reflected in Jamaican art works that reflect the diversity of cultures created by the island’s extensive history of immigration from Spain, Britain, Africa, India, China and the Middle East. Other artists in the exhibit bring out the legacy of colonialism, slavery, and emancipation.

In addition, the Jamaican diaspora has given several artists a Western perspective through which they view their own culture. Other artists are influenced by the international art world.

Self-taught artists, referred to as Jamaican Intuitives, expand on the native tradition of colorful, figurative art, which harkens back to the stunning art of the island’s native people, the Taino, who died out within decades of the Spaniards arrival.

The Jamaican exhibit is the centerpiece of the annual Friends of the Thorne K-12 education program for school groups. Art activities and guided tours for children in kindergarten through high school will be offered throughout the month of November. For information about the education program, see the Thorne’s website at, or call Meg Kidd at 603-358-2719.

Showing concurrently with “Soon Come” is another exhibition “American Vision: The Democratization of Design in the 20th Century,” which continues through Dec. 2. “American Vision” explores the influence on decorative art by technological advances in 20th-century America. The exhibit showcases the collection of Harrisville resident Léandre Poisson, who has acquired over 1,000 objects ranging from designer Gilbert Rohde’s 1935 Z Bench to collectibles such as a 1958 Philco Predicta television and a flower vase fashioned to resemble Jacqueline Kennedy.

The gallery is open from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday through Wednesday and noon to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday. The gallery is open only when Keene State College is in session. It is closed Veterans Day, Nov. 12, and for the Thanksgiving holiday, Thursday, Nov. 22, through Sunday, Nov. 25.

The exhibits and programs are free and open to the public. The gallery is accessible to people with disabilities

For information, call 603-358-2720, or look on the Internet at

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