Aubrey Williams Tribal Mark 1961

Artwork details

Artist
Aubrey Williams 1926–1990
Title
Tribal Mark
Date 1961
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Unconfirmed: 760 x 1020 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 2011
Reference
T13342

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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