Monday, January 9, 2012

US Embassy celebrates 50 Years of Friendship with Inspiring Johnny Johnson Exhibition

The celebrated Virginia artist Johnny Johnson says about his work, “My inspiration comes from my love of people and our natural environment. An effort is made to express the essence of the subject without unnecessary details. I enjoy the challenge of forcing the viewer to look at the work from many different perspectives. Social commentaries are often present in my work and are based on my own life experiences. It is exciting for me to experiment as I create.”

· The exhibition will consist of forty paintings by Johnny Johnson, many of which are from Ambassador Bridgewater’s collection at her Kingston residence. Mr. Johnson is a life-long friend of the Ambassador. The paintings are energetic, vibrant and provide splashes of vivid colour and movement. Please see examples of his work at and

· Johnny Johnson was born in 1936. He obtained his first degree in art education from Virginia State University, and his Masters in Fine Arts from Howard University. Mr Johnson left his home town of Henderson, North Carolina and came to Fredericksburg, Virginia for his first job as an art teacher. Since then, he has worked in the Fredericksburg Public School System and has taught at Mary Washington College and Germanna Community College in Fredericksburg, among others. Mr Johnson was very much involved in the civil rights movement and was a member of the NAACP and the regional Council on Human Relations. He has always been involved with several civic organizations – including Big Brothers. He was the first black teacher at Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg. “I always wanted to be both a teacher and an artist,” he says. He received the Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Virginia Teacher of the Year, Citizen of the Year and numerous other art awards for his watercolor and mixed media paintings. Mr Johnson has conducted numerous workshops.

· Johnny Johnson’s paintings have been included in the U.S. State Department’s Art in Embassies program (established by President John F. Kennedy in 1963) in three African countries (Benin, Eritrea and Ghana). The programme curates temporary and permanent exhibitions for the representational spaces of all U.S. chanceries, annexes, consulates, and embassy residences worldwide, commissioning and selecting contemporary art from the U.S. and the host countries.

- Courtesy of Public Affairs - U.S. Embassy, Kingston, Jamaica.

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