ArtsUNC Charlotte

Charlotte Alumnus Antoine Williams Creates Afrofuturist Murals For Washington, DC

Antoine Williams, a proud alumnus of UNC Charlotte from the class of ’03, has left an indelible artistic mark on Washington, D.C. His creative genius has manifested in the form of four mesmerizing multimedia public artworks as part of The Nicholson Project, a prestigious artist residency program in the nation’s capital.

These captivating pieces, collectively titled “Mythic Futures,” breathe new life into Afrofuturism, portraying mythical beings in a manner that resonates with contemporary Black life. For Williams, this project is a testament to the importance of contemporary Black folklore in the midst of social, racial, and economic turbulence. It’s a radical act of Black liberation, a deliberate subversion of the prevailing, unsustainable status quo.

The four murals are more than just visual spectacles; they are a fusion of artistic media. Williams employed wheat paste, banners, and augmented reality to bring his visions to life. To bridge the physical and digital realms, each mural proudly displays a QR code that links to Instagram, enabling viewers to access an AR filter and capture the artwork in a video, enhanced with additional visual elements.

Williams has masterfully merged the tangible and the digital, not only making his art easily shareable but also sparking meaningful dialogues within the community. To witness the creative process firsthand and delve deeper into the meaning behind these murals, you can watch Williams in action through a video on his website.

As an interdisciplinary artist, Williams skillfully navigates the space between the status quo and moments of subversion. His work seamlessly weaves together elements of speculative fiction, monster theory, critical Black studies, and afro surrealism. A distinguished alumnus of UNC Charlotte, he holds a BFA with an illustration concentration from the university and an MFA from UNC-Chapel Hill. Currently, he serves as an assistant professor of drawing in the University of Florida School of Art + Art History, a testament to his profound impact on the world of art. In fact, his remarkable contributions led to his recognition as the 2021 Distinguished Alumnus in the Department of Art & Art History.

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