South Carolina Artist Creates Exhibit Inspired by Historic Events

Charles Williams is an artist from Georgetown, South Carolina. He graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and Advertising. Currently, he is attending the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, where he will be receiving a Masters in Visual Arts. This fall, his exhibit Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See was showcased in the Elizabeth Dunlap Patrick gallery at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C. Inspired by recent historic events throughout the country, Charles Williams explores the establishment of trust through his artwork.

When discussing what prompted him to create his piece, Williams explains: “There was an incident that happened in Chicago dealing with a teen coming home from work, and he got shot multiple times, and that sparked an emotion in me to where I wanted to make something to, in some ways, pay homage or also reference my emotions, and I felt like the best way of doing that and feeling the compassion I felt for him and his family is to make art.”

Williams goes on to talk about the valuable time he spent with his grandfather as a child and how thinking of his grandfather played a vital role in his creative process. He says, "Spending a lot of time with my grandfather when I was little, he always shared with me some of the trials and tribulations that he would go through, but then also, too, some of the success that he had. He was able to establish trust through…you know, he would look a person in their eyes and shake their hands, and that established trust. And so, I was thinking back to that essence. If we got, individually, if we were getting back to that essence of trust, then we would be connected and we would also respect one another. So I started going back into history, looking at photographs, and from the use of my grandfather and his hands and establishing trust, that’s how I was able to pick out the historical photos that were dealing with police brutality.”

As an artist, Williams feels grateful to be able to create work that has the capability of initiating what he sees as positive change in the community. He explains:,"I am able to give back. When I mean give back; create work that educates. Create work that insprires. Create work that evokes some emotion to then be proactive. And also, create work that touches on history."