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Joan Marie Kelly

Joan M. Kelly is Irish American, born on the east coast of the USA. She attended Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore Magna Cum laude with a BFA in Painting. She received her MFA in Painting at Western Connecticut State, and immediately took a position as Assistant Professor at Nanyang Technological University School of Art Design and Media, in Singapore. Kelly completed several public art pieces in the USA and in 1997 founded and directed an art studio for adults with disabilities. This studio is still successful today. Kelly's introduction to Asia began in 1986 when she traveled to Indonesia carrying the pictures, letters from Indonesia foreign workers in New York to their families on Java. Presently, this thread has continued through painted portraits of people on the fringes of society in Asia. "Joan Kelly operates in "zones of contact", a theme elaborated in the 2006 Sydney Biennale: places where competing narratives of power compete, where silences speak to unwritten histories. If the Nanyang artists (Lim Hak Tai, Georgette Chen, Chen Wen Hsi, Chen Chong Swee, Liu Kang and Cheong Soo Pieng) revitalized the human form through the exotic of Southeast Asian landscape, Kelly reinvents the body through the environment of these zones: be it the foreign worker chattels of Little India, the brothels of Calcutta, or the factory towns of the Shenzen Economic Zone. These zones mark the intersection of the grand narrative of globalization and progress with those of the lived reality at the bottom of the pyramid. This is the landscape to the art of Joan Kelly." ( Art critic, Paul Khoo, Singapore)

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