1977, the year this painting was made, was the beginning of a transformational period in Williams' work. It was the year he first travelled to Africa, as a US representative to FESTAC '77. His experiences in the villages, in the towns, and in the countryside significantly affected his outlook on life and art. The cryptic title of this painting may relate to a quote from the diary of Emily Carr, one of the most famous female Canadian artists of the early 20th Century, who made her reputation painting indigenous subject matter in British Columbia. In her diary, she seemed to convey many of the same experiences and feelings Williams would later recall having when he was in Africao, writing, "I went no more then to the far villages, but to the deep, quiet woods near home where I sat staring, staring, staring ~ half lost, learning a new language or rather the same language in a different dialect. So still were the big woods where I sat, sound might not yet have been born. Slowly, slowly I began to put feeble scratchings and smudges of paint onto my paper, returning home disheartened, wondering, waiting for the woods to say something to me personally."
Africobra: Nation Time, 2019, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy
Recent Select Exhibitions Met Breuer AFRICOBRA 50 at Kavi Gupta Tate Modern Brooklyn Museum Crystal Bridges Museum of Art Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts Cleveland Museum of Art North Miami MOCA (forthcoming)