Watercolorist and architect Jay A. Waronker will be displaying his vibrant depictions of synagogues in sub-Saharan Africa during an upcoming exhibit at SUNY Canton.
A reception with the artist will be held at 6 p.m., Monday, Oct. 17 in the college’s Southworth Library Learning Commons. The event is free and open to the public.
Waronker, who is a professor of architecture at Kennesaw State University, Ga., has created a portfolio of work by documenting dozens of functioning or former synagogues in Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Namibia, Mauritius, Eritrea, Zambia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. He uses loose freehand drawing and watercolor techniques to create accurate architectural renderings of the historic locations.
“It may come as a surprise that there are countless active yet relatively unknown, or even unaccounted for, Jewish communities scattered around the globe in places away from the more commonly-associated and mainstream population centers,” Waronker said. “To people who often link Jewish life with certain identifiable places, these less familiar or even unknown enclaves may on the surface seem extraordinary and exotic, but in fact they represent places where Jews simply and freely settled and, in the diasporic tradition, organized and built synagogues.”
Waronker received his education at Cornell, Harvard, and the University of Michigan. In 1990, he began the documentation and study of India’s forty synagogues, which led to various publications of his work. Waronker has also extensively exhibited his watercolors throughout the United States and abroad, including Smithsonian’s International Museum of Art and Design in Atlanta, Skirball Museum in Los Angeles and the Graham Foundation Gallery in Chicago.
SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran, who worked with Waronker at his previous post at Southern Polytechnic State University, said he would like to start an Art Exhibit series at SUNY Canton.
“I’ve always been attracted to the way that Jay uses color to describe the wonderful buildings in his paintings,” Szafran said. “This will be a great start to a series of exhibitions where we can feature artists including our own faculty, staff and students.”
A similar exhibit and talk on Synagogues in India will be presented at 2 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Congregation Beth El in Potsdam.
About SUNY Canton
SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, health, management and public service and recently received number one rankings in library resources, library services and tutoring services in the SUNY Student Opinion Survey. The college’s faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as nine exclusively online bachelor’s degrees. The college’s 15 athletic teams compete as members of the NCAA Division III.