Mela - dark or black;
GE - earth;
Xenic - containing an unidentified organism
The Melagexenic Collection explores the body as both technology and language,
a coded expression of genetic blueprints belonging to the future. This work captures the beauty and legacy of black existence and presents the black body as an ever-evolving technological advancement.
It can be argued that the body is both personal and political; and that our approach to science, technology, engineering and mathematics mimic the functions, and are predicated by, the needs of the body.
The body is important historically and bears major implicaton for the future. The Melagexenic, or unidentified organism in a foreign environment, is a term I coined to represent the unique disposition, identity and utility of displaced and commodified bodies. An organic machinery, deemed inferior but skilled and capable of directly contributing to the swift development, industrialization, wealth and advancement of receiving nations. Stripped from land, culture and ancestral record, the melagexenic sources genetic memory in order to adapt to, survive, and create into the future.
30X40 Acrylic 2023
Acrylic 36x48 2023
Acrylic 36x48 2023
30X40 Acrylic 2023
“Sometimes I Feel…”, portrays black men experiencing emotional decision-making. These portraits meet the viewers where they are, at the breaking point or at the point of breakthrough. From an outsider’s lens, I wanted to address how black men privately hold, process and evolve emotionally while on the flipside, question where, how and when is his safe space to break, open up and release? This five piece series focuses on the solitary and pivotal stage of working through emotions like anger, grief, sadness, guilt, regret and oppression. Each of these portraits stand individually, as a direct consequence of the systemic, racial and stereotypical biases imposed upon him.
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Inspired by my city’s vibrant scene, its architectural marvels and luminaries Annie Lee and Dr Margaret Burroughs, my artist journey is deeply rooted in creative legacy and integrity. From a young age I understood that everything is art. Nurtured by my family, it was my mothers’ abstract paintings and craftwork, my father's lifelike sketches, and my brother's vibrant graffiti art that collectively contributed to my artistic identity and provided me with a deep well of inspiration from which to draw.
What began for me as abstract notebook doodles evolved into intricate line designs of landscapes and portraits. Rooted in my love for geometry and drafting, I’ve developed a distinct style that emphasizes symmetrical balance, composition and form.
In my work, acrylic and oil are my primary mediums. I use a colored background to radiate the overarching theme of the piece, while facial expression and pose offer another clue in the narrative, capturing the conflict and emotional nuance beneath the surface. In contrast, the bold black lines against the varied shades of brown creates a mechanical, mosaic-like portrayal of the human form, highlighting the intricate interplay between technology and biology. These elements collectively add depth to the portrayal of strength, endurance and beauty.
I find solace and inspiration in creating art during the wee hours of night while listening to a mix of jazz and soul music in my basement studio. After completing a piece, I hang it on my wall to observe it through various emotional lenses, to ensure the painting reflects, inspires and resonates energetically.
My artistic aspiration is to create meaningful connections with my audience. Through my art, I strive to evoke emotions, provoke thought, and foster a deeper understanding of the human experience.
About the Artist
A Chicago native and multidisciplinary artist, camil.williams has been creating art in various forms for over two decades. Her work spans poetry, music, visual arts, performance, and activism, often exploring themes of social justice, identity, and the experiences of marginalized communities.
Williams' artistic journey began in her South Shore neighborhood, where her culturally rich upbringing laid the foundation for her creative expression. She honed her skills as a student at Bryn Mawr Elementary and Morgan Park High School, where she joined a chorus of notable alumni including Michelle Obama and Mae Jemison.
After attending the University of Illinois at Chicago on a full athletic scholarship, Williams embarked on a successful career in corporate accounting. However, her artistic calling continued to beckon, and she began actively pursuing her creative passions.
In 2005, Williams co-founded Spoken Existence Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering marginalized black women. Under the Spoken Existence umbrella, she formed AquaMoon, an activist-performance duo that utilized Hip Hop Feminism to raise awareness and promote dialogue on issues affecting women of color. <Read More>