The House We Build

August 28, 2021 to January 2, 2022

The House We Build is an exhibition about family and a family exhibition that invites visitors to witness their intergenerational conversations through the art that emerges as a result of their dialogue. When James’s daughter, Indigo, was about three she began to ask her father questions about life. They would talk to each other about their experiences, which are reflected in their respective artwork. Years later, younger sister Zoe joined these evolving conversations. LCVA curator of exhibitions, Alex Grabiec, notes that “both Indigo and Zoe’s artwork reflect the hopefulness and optimism of youth as they as navigate and question our complex world. Their perspective is a valuable inspiration to James in his own work, which is tempered by the realities of his experiences as an adult.”

James Williams’ art work frequently examines the objectification of Black people and the Black construct in order to find humor and understanding in the inaccuracies and indecisiveness of racial classifications of Black Americans. In describing the genesis of the project, Williams says, “My work centers on social and cultural identity in the United States tied together by self-portraiture and narrative. It was two years ago during an attempt to make sense of race and visual representation for my five-year-old daughter, Indigo, I began to see similarities between her anthropomorphic cartoons and the origin of racial constructs in America, particularly in Black Americans. Anthropomorphized animals and inanimate objects in traditional stories or Disney movies are relatable to children. One of the main purposes of these stories is to help children differentiate between what is perceived to be good and evil in this world, therefore leading to a biased understanding of race.”

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