Beverley Jane Stewart
Brought up in South London, from the tender age of 9 Beverley-Jane Stewart knew she was going to be an artist. Over the years she nurtured her artistic talent in her spare time whilst obtaining a degree in Education and Art at London University. This degree course was on abstract art and it became the foundation of her work which then developed into visual storytelling. Whilst teaching and developing her talent in her spare time, Beverley-Jane was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of Croydon Art Society for professional artists. Her work was exhibited at The Guild Hall and later shown at the South Bank where she received two awards; The Evening Standard ‘For London at Play’ and ‘The Artists Book Club’.
As a visual writer, she looks in intricate detail at how Jewish heritage operates in contemporary multi-cultural society fusing facts with emotions. She tells the story of the Jews from past to present, displaying history in its various periods…a rollercoaster in time. Beverley-Jane’s commissioned painting capturing and titled ‘125 years of the United Synagogue’ hangs in their head office. Her work has also been featured in numerous publications including on the cover for Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ book ‘Community of Faith’ as well as the cover and illustrations for the book ‘The Jewish Community of Golders Green: A Social History’ by bestselling author Pam Fox. Jenni Frazer of The Times of Israel said “Beverley-Jane goes beyond the buildings themselves, surrounding them with a rich cornucopia of local history and community”. Rami Ozeri, Director of Jerusalem Biennale, said “Her art is very impressive and very relevant”. Beverley-Jane’s work is now fast gaining international standing, with exhibitions in England, Israel, Italy and Romania.
I am a Diaspora Jew. I have always aimed to achieve a meaningful balance between my secular life and my religion. Being Jewish has always mattered to me, for it gave me a sense of belonging and purpose. The weekly attendance at my local synagogue through prayer, festival and customs helped me to identify with Judaism.
My initial interest was focused on the synagogue architecture as a prayer hall, but as a female artist my perception was directed from a high perspective. This familiar angle was developed from the many years I sat with my mother in the ladies gallery. Towering above I watched the beauty of the panoramic scenes below. Surrounded by a backdrop of architectural splendor, the male dominated services created a spiritual euphoria of drama with movement, color and light.
Through exploring the theme of public and private space within Judaism, the synagogue and the secular surroundings - I evolved and developed into a visual writer, illustrating the story of Jewish social history. Showing how Jews have kept their identity whilst contributing to the secular world, supporting financial markets, trades, politics and arts etc. I became aware of the political pressures and the relationship Jews had with the indigenous community, their acceptance or rejection. I’m fascinated by the intricate detail in my work, showing how Jewish heritage operates in contemporary multi-cultural society, fusing facts with emotions and showing life as a roller coaster in time.
I use drawing and sketching as a base line to show my ideas and compositions before starting each painting, they are on their own a journey of research. In recent years, alongside the oil painting, I have started to incorporate new materials such as Plexiglas and engraving on plywood.