Peter Williams, Geegee (He had red Hair), oil-based enamel and graphite on canvas, 2019. Purchased with funds from the Ellingson Family.

Wilkinson College continues to highlight art work acquired by the Escalette Collection of Art this year as part of the Engaging the World: Leading the Conversation on the Significance of Race Initiative.

This week we introduce you to artist Peter Williams, recipient of a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship Award, 2021 American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Prize, and the 2020 Artists’ Legacy Foundation Artist Award.

For more than 45 years, Williams has created artwork that chronicles current and historical events and captures the diverse experiences of Black Americans. In contrast to the dark, violent realities that Williams’s work explores (such as racial oppression, police brutality, slavery, and mass incarceration), his work is vibrantly colorful and humorous. Intertwining personal memories, fictional characters, and historical details, Williams’s artwork retells American history from a fresh, comic perspective. His works force us to consider the absurdity of the myths at the core of American society.

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