Joanna Dixon is the fourth daughter of a country vicar. She wanted to be an artist from the age of five but her father told her it was not a suitable career for a young lady. Determined all the same, she secretly applied to the Hammersmith College of Art, being one of the few colleges that had retained its life drawing school in an era when abstract expressionism was endemic across the London art school scene. Drawing had always been very important to her and still underpins all her work .
After College Joanna took up a teaching career and later married a Devon GP, becoming fully occupied with three children and manning the phones at all hour, when he was out on call.
This led to a ten year painting gap but the painting urge remained. Joanna started doing portraits of local children, and was offered a local exhibition, which was followed by a solo exhibition in 1994 at St John’s, Smith Square, London. From then on her career progressed with numerous exhibitions and awards, being elected a South West Academician in 2005 and Member of the Society of Women Artists in 2009. She is listed in David Buckman’s “Dictionary of Artists in Britain since 1945”.
Today she is primarily a figurative artist .This event at Zari Gallery is her first London exhibition featuring her Indian travels.
An Indian Journey: an exhibition by the artist Joanna Dixon, Zari Gallery, London
Jo Dixon’s latest exhibition, hosted by Zari Gallery, London, is a collection of paintings from recent visits to India. Many of these journeys were with their husband, a GP, and a number of other doctors. Their objective was to learn about various forms of complementary medicine and for them to transfer the practice of treatments, such as yoga and Ayurvedic medicine, into their local settings, in UK. These expeditions were part of a wider vision, supported and encouraged by HRH The Prince of Wales, that orthodox and complementary medicine should become integrated.
Some of these expeditions were organised by Dr. Mosaref Ali in Delhi and North India. Others were hosted by Dr. Issac Mathai in Southern India, where he introduced Jo to the Ragi threshers, and Mr Puttu Chittiappa, who arranged visits to Coorg and Ooty, to visit the tea and coffee plantations. Travelling with these friends enabled Jo to have an intimacy with the local people and surroundings that would not have been possible otherwise.
The characters in Jo’s paintings reveal a dignity and depth of spirituality which appears biblical in nature – not surprising perhaps as many of the villages have remained virtually unchanged for centuries. The artist uncovers a society which may be poor in Western terms but retains an intrinsic beauty which is dignified and mystical.