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Peter Williams in the studio.

For more than 40 years Williams has chronicled current and historical events, interspersing pictorial narratives with personal anecdotes and fictional characters in order to create paintings about the diverse experiences of Black Americans. With boldness and humor, he tackles the darkest of subjects including, but not limited to, police brutality, lynching, slavery, mass incarceration, and other realms of racial oppression. Williams uses cultural criticism to form new creation myths, retelling the history of America from fresh and cosmic perspectives.

Peter Williams lives in Wilmington, DE and is Senior Professor in the Fine Arts Department at the University of Delaware. He earned his MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and his BFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design. His paintings are held in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Detroit Institute of Arts, MI; Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington; Howard University, Washington DC; Davis Museum at Wellesley College, MA; CCH Pounder Collection, New Orleans; Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH; the Mott-Warsh Collection in Flint, MI; The Bunker/Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection, Palm Beach; Jorge Perez Collection, Miami; and the McEvoy Foundation, San Francisco, among others.

Peter Williams’s new suite of paintings, entitled “Black Exodus,” uses allegory and satire to explore a new ecologically-focused diaspora. With the earth on the brink of environmental disaster, Williams tells an Afrofuturist tale of a community as it escapes to outer space.  They travel in retrofitted 1950s flying cars named for heroes like “Mal.Colm X” and “ROSA.PARKS,” dream of new planet homes, and commune with bird-creatures who have become harbingers of human destruction. Will Williams’s protagonists remain trapped in a cycle of oppression or will they escape to the stars?

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