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’.