Artist Type: Collagist
Born in Bridgetown, Barbados in 1990, Ronald Williams is a multimedia artist living and working at his craft in his native country. Williams gained his Associate Degree in 2010 at the Barbados Community College (BCC) and will complete his BFA in 2013 at the aforementioned institute. In addition to appearing in two group exhibitions, the most recent of them being ‘Line Up’ at the BCC’s Morningside Gallery.
Sport is the great leveller able to bring various races, classes and creeds together onto a common testing ground, or so we are taught.
As a fan of many physically competitive sports, I have found a vast array of evidence in all forms of information media which indicate that this assumption is false. This evidence, coupled with my own ideas and thoughts about athletes, caused my curiosity to peak and I began to pay greater attention to contemporary branding techniques which pertained to the black athlete in particular. This exploration caused me to query racial and cultural divisions as well as the ideas of fame, celebrity/hero-worship, consumerism, and identity to name a few.
My collages contemplate popular culture and acknowledge sport as a microcosm of the greater society. I manipulate popular based imagery to compose computer generated images, using the technique of digital collage to speak about a multiplicity of issues. This forces the work to be self-contradictory as well as present conflicting ideologies. The collages are created by manipulating and combining a wide variety of images which range from artwork in ancient civilizations, images from a time of institutional racism, black power symbols etc. A finished piece takes the shape of a sportsman, onto which society’s perceptions, stereotypes and fantasies about the black athlete, are projected.
I present the work in the form of large scale prints and sports cards, thereby appropriating the concept of the athlete as a commodity. The result is a satire of our obsession and exploitation of the black athlete/figure, our fascination with the ‘celebrity’ and the separation of races which ignorance perpetuates. Through my work I strive to challenge and interrogate the stereotypes associated with the black athlete and to an extent, blacks in general.