Identity. Whether investigating masculinity, beauty, otherness, inclusion/exclusion, or understanding 'blackness' from a social, historical or political context, identity has been a central theme in my work. On reflection, identity has been a prominent subject due to my own struggle with self-image. Growing up in a post-colonial, globalized Caribbean state where mainstream images of the 'black self' were seldom locally created, there was a void which imported images (usually constructed by non-blacks and regularly negative) naturally filled. This, combined with an early art education which presented a negation/ lack of the black figure in important periods of art history, set the stage for deep rooted ideologies regarding race and identity. As such, through my work I seek to critically engage the stereotypes which inform perceptions of identity, particularly construction of 'blackness'.
My digital collages incorporate images and symbols which when juxtaposed raise questions about our understanding of the black identity. I present, subvert and play with stereotypes in my work to create dialogues surrounding themes of 'blackness'. The work is intentionally, at times, self contradictory, but layered with symbols and allegories which could be read in multiple ways due to the multifaceted discourse of identity. The figure plays a central role in many of my collages as I use these stylized forms as a way to refer to the way in which fantasies and ideals are projected onto the black body.
To create each piece I use a mixture of photographs, computer generated images, as well as, popular based images sourced from the internet and the print media. After sourcing relevant material, I cut, manipulate and re-assemble the images using Adobe Photoshop to compose these digital collages.
Ronald Williams is a digital artist born, raised and working in Barbados. His digital collages; created through the manipulation of photographs, print and online media as well as computer generated images, investigate identity, race, class and culture; particularly representations of 'blackness'.
Since earning his BFA in Fine Arts from The Barbados Community College, Williams has participated in various local, regional and international group exhibitions.