Tuesday, June 9, through Sunday, August 23
Figge Art Museum, 225 West Second Street, Davenport IA
With its showcased talent acclaimed for his mixed-media paintings and prints that utilize a variety of techniques including woodcarving and collage, the exhibition Didier William: Lakou graces Davenport's Figge Art Museum from June 9 (the day of the museum's re-opening) through August 23, its artist drawing on Haitian history, mythology, and personal experience to explore significant themes of cultural identity.
Born in 1983 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, William grew up in Miami, received his BFA in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and earned his MFA in painting and printmaking from Yale University School of Art. His work has been exhibited at the Bronx Museum of Art, the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, the Museum at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Fraenkel Gallery, Frederick and Freiser Gallery, the James Fuentes Gallery, and the Anna Zorina Gallery. He was an artist in residence at the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation in Brooklyn and has taught at several institutions including Yale School of Art, Vassar College, Columbia University, Upenn, and SUNY Purchase. Currently, William serves as an assistant professor of expanded print at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.
William's paintings are frequently concerned with blackness and other identities subjected to an "othering" gaze and socioeconomic oppression, drawing on his experiences of immigrating to the United States from Haiti. His works embrace traditional conventions of painting in their size and planarity, but integrate collage and mixed media to reflect to layers on meaning in each piece. Didier's exploration of the gaze, Haitian Voudou, history, folklore, and identity is expressed through works that depict human figures, and his Curtains, Stages, Shadows series from 2017 and 2018 was in part inspired by events surrounding Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager who was shot to death in 2012. Among William's many accolades are the Morris Louis Award for Excellence in Painting, the Rosenthal Family Foundations Award in Art, and a 2009 grant from the Hearst Foundation.
Didier William: Lakou will be on display from June 9 through August 23, and regular museum hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entrance to the museum is free through the month of June ($4-10 admission afterward), reservations are required for venue access, and more information is available by calling (563)326-7804 or visiting FiggeArtMuseum.org.