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Dawn
Williams Boyd
When I was a little girl my mother and I made buxom paper dolls from the brown bags we brought home from the grocery store. We clothed them with the scraps from her sewing room floor. Six decades later I create with scraps of fabric, garnered from myriad sources, to tell my stories and those of my mothers and fathers. My intention is to depict in a visually universal format, the agony of abduction and separation from our homes and families, generations of brutal slavery and the continual struggle to survive institutionalized racism. My concept in making this artwork is twofold: to educate myself and my audiences about what it has meant to be a Black American in this “land of the free” over the last 400 years; and, to combine the techniques and traditions of studio painting and quilt making to challenge the concept of ‘fine’ art. My ‘cloth paintings’ are large scale, vividly colored and celebrate the human form. I use both the appliqué and piecing methods to sew scraps of fabric together. Machine stitches, rich hand embroidery, beads, sequins, cowrie shells and acrylic paints are added to embellish the surface. Each piece begins as a small sketch and most large pieces take 400-500 hours to complete. The stories they tell are occasionally humorous, warm hearted and bring back memories of happier times. Others are controversial, forceful and bitter as I tell the history of this country from the perspective of the ‘other’, the oppressed, abused and disenfranchised. Just as peoples from many countries, cultures and traditions were blended to produce me, my art blends myriad bits of cloth to tell my stories, and to educate and promote understanding between people of all cultures. [email protected] www.dawnwilliamsboyd.com
Visual Artist

Dawn Williams Boyd’s artwork reflects her interests in American history - specifically as it affects and is affected by its African American citizens - women’s identity and sexuality, religious music and world politics. After more than 30 years successfully painting in oils and acrylics on various surfaces, in 2002 this prolific artist began to 'paint' with fabric instead of on it. Her large scale ‘cloth paintings’ are representative, packed with vibrant, often life sized figures and are strategically embellished with beads, sequins and cowry shells and hand embroidery. Most pieces take over 500 hours to complete. Through cutting, patching, surface enhancement and quilting, bits and pieces of fabric are transformed into modern visual storytelling.

The daughter of Atlanta Public School teachers John and Narvie Hill Williams (Puls), Dawn was reared in the Mozley Park and Adamsville neighborhoods of Atlanta, GA. She attended local schools, graduating from St. Pius X Catholic High School in 1970. She received her BFA (studio) from Stephens College, Columbia, MO in 1974.

Ms. Williams Boyd’s work has been seen in numerous one woman and group exhibitions throughout the United States. In 2016: a trunk show at Hammonds House Museum as a featured artist at the Atlanta Quilt Festival in August, KUIBUKA, her one woman exhibit at Bulloch Hall, Roswell, GA, late January and Womyn at Atlanta – Fulton Library, Mechanicsville Branch, Atlanta, GA in March, at Fiberart International at The Society for Contemporary Crafts in Pittsburg, PA in May, and currently in And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, VA. In 2015: Extreme Fibers: Textile Icons and the New Edge at the Muskegon (MI) Museum of Art, Expressions in Equality at Visions Art Museum in San Diego, CA and Meeting Roads and Liberty at the Foundation of the United States of America at Paris City University, in Paris, France. In 2014 she exhibited several pieces at Art & Spiritualite: Liberte in Angers, France, Themes of Black Identity at LH Horton Gallery at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, CA. and Exhibiting Blackness at Evolve the Gallery, Sacramento, CA.

Dawn leads workshops with Atlanta area youth at public and private schools, libraries and art centers. She volunteers at Spelman College’s Museum of Fine Art, Hammonds House Museum and Omenala Griot Museum and Event Center. She and her husband, artist Irvin Wheeler reside in southwest Atlanta, GA.

Dawn Williams Boyd www.dawnwilliamsboyd.com

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