SHOWFIELDS x JUANA WILLIAMS
Juana Williams is an independent contemporary art curator from Detroit, Michigan. Her curatorial practice predominantly focuses on deconstructing complex, contemporary cultural issues and attempts to provide a dialogue within which these issues can be discussed. As an emerging African American curator and scholar, she is also particularly sensitive to and interested in issues of diversity. Williams is passionate about engaging communities, elevating diverse voices, and giving a platform to artists for innovative expression. She persistently advocates for supporting artists and preserving art-centered spaces.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your practice:
I’ve been working in the art field for a few years now and my practice has been centered on attempts of understanding our human connectedness and transmission of information. My practice is generally research-heavy and my goal is to provide a platform to discuss events and issues through contemporary art. I attempt to delve deeply into sociological understandings of topics that are currently relevant while utilizing historical information regarding social and cultural problems. I’m essentially focusing on how human societies function and ways in which we all navigate life together.
What are your parameters for artist selection?
I chose Black womxn artists, most of whom I know personally, who not only create compelling work but who also seem to have values that align with ideas of the importance of representing and elevating the voices of Black womxn.
What kind of artwork is relevant to our generation and the times we are living?
All of it! All work that is being created and work that has been created is important. What I find most interesting about art is how relevant it can be throughout time periods. There are numerous works that are being created now that reflect noteworthy events and ideas of the present; however, many of these works will be relevant when the current social climate has shifted. There will still be something to learn and perhaps enjoy from the works.
Additionally, there is so much to love and learn from what was created in the past. Our connectedness to one another now and to those who lived in the past is a continuous narrative. We are also such complex beings that what may resonate as significant in the life of one individual, may not strike a cord for another. So, I don’t believe I can name one work of art or group of pieces that are so significantly relevant right now that they should be elevated above all others.
Tell us about this curation for SHOWFIELDS: conceptually, aesthetically, etc.?
During these tumultuous times, I find it especially necessary to continue to shed light on the invisibility of Black womanhood in our American culture. With that in mind, I chose to highlight the work of Black womxn artists as a dedication to Breonna Taylor and all of the Black womxn we have lost to violence. I hope to uplift voices of Black womxn and their experiences through artwork, while supporting their practice during a time where working as an independent artist is becoming increasingly difficult.
What is your advice for art lovers and appreciators looking to start their own art collections?
Purchase work that speaks to you, in some way, work that you are moved by and work that you enjoy.