Aubrey Williams
Tribal Mark II 1961

Artwork details

Aubrey Williams 1926–1990
Tribal Mark II
Date 1961
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 762 x 1015 mm
frame: 974 x 1227 x 65 mm
Acquisition Purchased 2011
On display at Tate Britain
Exhibition: Artist and Empire

Display caption

Williams’ paintings engage with the visual language of American and European abstraction, while also drawing upon Guyanese cultural history. His use of tribal glyph marks relates to the calligraphic motifs of other abstract artists. However, he first encountered these signs in the 1940s when he was working as an agricultural field officer in Guyana and spent time with the Warrau tribe. He described the glyph as ‘a strange, very tense, slightly violent shape coming in somewhere. It has haunted me all my life and I don’t understand it; a subsconscious thing coming out’.

July 2012

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