Didier William‘s sculptures build on the themes and style of his paintings, which incorporate elements of printmaking, low-relief sculpture, and collage. Born in Port-au-Prince and raised in North Miami, William’s work is packed with symbolism from Haitian culture and mythology and imagery that invokes the multiplicitous nature of identity. Trained as a printmaker, he treats pictorial space as a “matrix,” carving directly into the wood and incorporating chine collé techniques to create thousands of human eyes that have become a signature element of this phase of his practice. These eyes speak to the over-specularization of black (immigrant, queer, male, female and transgender) bodies in America and the violence that often results from this visual encounter. As skin, they offer a poignant drape of protection for the figures, meeting the gaze of others head-on and denying the over-signified consumption of black flesh.
Image: Didier William, Six Hundred Twenty Nautical Miles, 2021. Acrylic, ink, wood carving on panel. 68 x 104 in. Courtesy of the artist.