Lee-Ann Haslam - Fusing Japanese and Western Aesthetics to Create Compelling Art


      1) When, how long and where were you in Japan?

      17 years, Saga city, Kyushu then Kashiwa city, Chiba

      2) How was your time in Japan? What were some highlights/things you wish you had done  differently?

      I met amazing people from all over there and because of Japan I’ve had unique experiences and been able to explore and cultivate various interests, such as kyudo, hiking, camping, snowboarding, travel… I was also able to complete my masters fully paid for under the Monbukagakusho Scholarship Programme. Life in Japan for me was all that I could have hoped for and more. I believe in no regrets; there is nothing I would have done differently. Each and every experience has aided me in my growth and life learning.

      3) What was it like for you when you first returned to Jamaica? 

      I came to Jamaica initially on vacation and due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the policies that ensued I stayed. At first, it was frustrating. To be honest, at times it still is, but there is a beauty here that when I feel it I relax. I love revisiting the parishes of my land. So far my top three are Sainty, Portie and Westmoreland. When I interact with positive down to earth people and engage in the beauty of this land and people, it gives me great joy.

      4) Tell us a bit about your current job/projects. 

      While in Japan I started my company LeeCreates. I sold glass art and organic products especially, because as someone of colour with naturally curly hair, I could not access the necessary products that I needed at the onset. When I moved back to Jamaica, I decided to focus more on my art, art education via events, workshops and the like such as Lime and Paint, and exhibitions. I have recently become acquainted with other artists in this hemisphere and given a few independent lectures.

      5) How has the experience in Japan influenced what you are currently doing?

      A lot. For one, I got my masters in Glass Art there. My artistic style is a combination of Western and Japanese Aesthetics. I also taught art there after graduation for 8 years in an all girls school. Lime and Paint and Leecreates were both started and developed in Japan. Everything has an influence in my opinion and after 17 years how could it not?

      6) What advice would you give to someone who is interested in going to Japan on the JET Programme?

      Talk to those who have been before but remain open because each individual’s experience is unique to them. I believe you get what you give. So, if you really want to do it, go for it.

      7) What advice would you give to someone who is about to return or who has recently returned to Jamaica from Japan?

      I'm not sure about anything else as I’m still finding my feet and readjusting, but I presently have loads of shipping advice.

      8.  Would you return to live in Japan? Why or why not?

      Yes, I would go back. I miss my friends and certain things Japanese. However, at present I believe I would mainly go back to visit and complete some art projects that are in the wings.

      Learn more about Lee-Ann Haslam in the Jamaica Observer.


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