By Ayla Rexroth
Paul Anthony Smith is Jamaican American, his attitude is positive, he is opinionated and his works employ traditional genre scenes. His media ranges from ceramics, paintings, drawings, collages and photography, and this gives him a wide range of visual and material strategies for communicating his ideas about cultural tradition, world politics, and race.
I was excited to meet with Paul because his work challenges me to think outside of my own cultural perspectives and I can read it on several levels. Growing up in Iowa, my hometown happened to have an amazing collection of Haitian genre paintings, and they were my favorite because they were out of place in a museum where most of the exhibits were either by regionalist painter Grant Wood or about corn production. I can easily connect much of Paul’s imagery to the Caribbean paintings I love, but there are several differences. Paul is making art in historically regionalist Kansas City, and he’s working with contemporary themes, events, and methods.