William Adjété Wilson is a French-Togolese artist whose work imaginatively refashions classic techniques and materials used by African artisans. His often-colorful visual narratives, informed by individual biographies, family stories and collective histories, present a provocative critique of complicated encounters between Africa and Europe over the last 500 years.
Born in France, Wilson had little knowledge of his Togolese father’s family until he traveled through the Gulf of Guinea as a young man. Though trained as a philosopher and anthropologist, this journey inspired him to pursue an artistic practice. His work has been shown throughout Africa, Europe, the U.S. and Brazil.
Wilson’s intellectual interests continue to inform his creative work, which both celebrates and interrogates the often untold stories of the African continent. Black Ocean, a collaboration between Wilson and a workshop of artisans in the Republic of Benin, is a series of powerful appliqué textiles which bear witness to the richness of West African cultures and the complex histories that weave together people of Africa, Europe and the Americas. Through this important work, Wilson places himself intellectually and spiritually in conversation with his European and African ancestors.
The exhibit will run from September 18th through November 7th and is co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost, Third Century Initiative, African Studies Center, Comparative Literature and Romance Languages and Literatures