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Diane Williams

Imagined Hybrid

December 7, 2019 - February 9, 2020

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Diane Williams is a non-binary immigrant artist from the Philippines whose interdisciplinary work stems from the political and social landscape that surrounds her—specifically the ethnically diverse neighborhoods of Los Angeles. These neighborhoods are a “melting pot,” a testament to the idea that people of diverse backgrounds and identities can live harmoniously. By creating works regarding immigrants and gender, Williams’ work encourages cultural and social understanding by focusing on the duality, hybridity, and ambiguity that exists in diverse cultural narratives and identities.

In the series Monsters and Aliens, Williams creates a variety of masks crafted from what she calls “cultural detritus”: shredded paintings and other discarded materials such as fabrics and yarn that have been salvaged from local shops that are traditionally owned, run and supported by immigrants. She wears these masks to signify “other” in her performances and self-portrait photographs. By completely covering the wearer’s face, the mask both takes away their humanity and transforms them into a human/animal hybrid, recalling female monsters from Ancient Greece, such as Medusa, the Sirens, and Chimera. These creatures were considered powerful, evil, and frightening. Williams wants the viewer to question what they fear from strangers and reflect on their own prejudices with respect to race and gender.

Diane Williams is an interdisciplinary artist and organizer based in Los Angeles, California. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from California State University, Long Beach in 2013 and is currently a 2021 Master of Fine Arts candidate at the University of Southern California. Her work has been featured in select publications and radio interviews including Los Angeles Magazine, LA Weekly, Artillery, Art and Cake, P&A Magazine and KPFK. Williams exhibited in several solo and group shows at the Armory Center for the Arts, Walter Maciel Gallery, The Lancaster Museum of Art and History, PØST, Cerritos College Gallery, Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art RAFFMA, Children’s Museum of the Arts New York, Berkeley Art Center, San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries SFAC and Grafiska Sällskapet Stockholm, Sweden among others. Her art is held in private collections and the public collections of the National Immigration Law Center, Los Angeles and Washington DC headquarters and Azusa Pacific University.

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