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Kemel L. Rankine

About the Artist

Kemel Rankine (photo courtesy of Antillean).
Kemel Rankine (photo courtesy of Antillean).

Kemel Leeford Rankine 
St. Elizabeth, Maybole, Jamaica, April 5th, 1944.

Kemel Leeford Rankine was born on April 5th, 1944 in the small rural district of Maybole, in the parish of St. Elizabeth. As a young man seeking to find employment he would engage in various activities including farming, house painting and carpentry. A talent for painting led to the artist painting on t'shirts and for a while Kemel ended up working at a t'shirt factory. In 1990 however, the artist stepped on a banana peel, slipped and badly injured his foot, to the point where he could not go back to work and it remains hard still for him to get around. Sitting at home and wondering what he would do to earn a living, Kemel hit up on the idea to start painting signs on discarded bits of metal for the various businesses in his parish. Discarded metal was cheap and easily available to him and enamel paint as opposed to the more expensive acrylic or oil paint was a means to paint these signs. Sign-painting was the main way that Mr. Rankine earned an income following his injury. In time however, Kemel started branching out to doing paintings of local characters --- such as the national heroes of the island; and painting the proverbs, parables and sayings of the island --- and he would hang these paintings just outside of his dwellings to sell to those passing by. Artists in particular who would drive by Mr. Rankine’s yard be-strung by these paintings would stop and remark on the level of artistry in his work. Soon, Kemel Rankine started developing collectors of his paintings. Today the artist is known as both a painter of signs and of fine art works of art on re-purposed metal. 

(Biography above courtesy of Antillean)


Police Man
SKU: KMR-1701

Signboard - oil paint on recycled galvanized steel. (26" x 12 1/2").  Jamaica, c. 2016.


Fire Truck
SKU: KMR-1702

Signboard - oil paint on recycled aluminum. (12 1/2" x 24 1/2").  Jamaica, c. 2016.


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