These self-portraits explore the complex intersection of fatness, blackness, femininity, womanism, value and healing.
Through her work, Honey Williams aims to acknowledge and validate the significance of being a big, black woman in a world that often marginalises and oppresses them. Her work offers a fresh perspective on what it means to be human, challenging racist white supremacist notions of who and what should be prioritised.
The 52 Machetes represents the artist’s Caribbean heritage. In her experience:
Big Black intersectional women are under constant attack. They carry battle scars from these attacks and must continually self-repair. We are expected to exist without support, and live under the constant threat of returning to war, and yet we are expected to be grateful to have escaped death.
Additionally, the work highlights the lack of access to social capital which renders big Black women’s perspectives invisible. They are silenced in a world of hypervisibility.
The work is painted on reclaimed roller blinds. The blinds functional use is to control who can see in or out of a space. Using this as a metaphor, roller blinds represent a way of controlling people’s gaze. Honey adds street art’s rebellious nature to this surface, repurposing the blinds and resetting their use. Working in this way, the artist elevates something Western society has discarded into something sacred.
The Shrines & The 52 Machetes exhibition is part of a dynamic and ever-evolving project. The works on display will be changed on 28 August 2023.
About the artist
Honey Williams is a Jamaican British creative powerhouse. She is a singer-songwriter, visual artist, designer, DJ and educator. Her art looks at the decolonisation of beauty, identity, race, history, gender, love, fashion, sexuality and fatphobia.
Honey was the winner of the New Art Exchange Open Public Prize Award. She was invited by The British Council to go to Kingston, Jamaica to be a Muralist to honour the Windrush Generation. As a Singer-Songwriter, Honey has recorded, collaborated with, toured Europe with and written songs for notable artists such as Roni Size, Joe Buhdha, Rodney P, Klashnekoff and Kymani Marley. Notably, she was invited to perform at the 300th Anniversary of the city of Karlsruhe, Germany. Honey is the Director of an alt-soul choir called The Gang of Angels and is currently an Associate Artist at City Arts.
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