Diane Williams is a Filipinx-American, immigrant, artist and organizer based in Los Angeles, CA. In her work, she examines colonial legacies and the roles people play in systems and institutions of power. Williams explores this idea by drawing her audience into a deconstructed and hybrid space, real and imagined, familiar and unfamiliar, creating a counter-narrative based on her diasporic positionality.
Her work has been featured in select publications and radio interviews including Los Angeles Magazine, LA Weekly, Artillery, Eastsider LA, 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, Museum of Art and History MOAH, PØST, Cerritos College Gallery, Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art RAFFMA, California State University San Diego, Children’s Museum of the Arts New York, Berkeley Art Center, San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries SFAC and Grafiska Sällskapet Stockholm, Sweden among others. She has works in private and public collections at the National Immigration Law Center, Los Angeles and Washington DC headquarters and Azusa Pacific University. Williams earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts degree at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) in 2013 and a 2021 Masters of Fine Arts candidate at University of Southern California (USC).
Diane Williams’ research-based practice is invested in deconstructing and exploring the Pilipinx experience. In particular, she is interested in the idea of the parol, an ornamental, star-shaped lantern, traditionally made of bamboo and paper that can often be seen around the holiday season. While the word parol is derived from the Spanish word farol, meaning lantern, its exact provenance is unknown, although it is commonly held that the parol is a vestige of Spanish Colonialism.
After tracing the roots of the parol to no avail, Williams was left with fragments of a story, bits and pieces of a colonial narrative. These archival fragments seemed to parallel the colonized endless and fruitless search for an identity separate from colonialism, a journey that inevitably leads to the reminder of painful and disjointed memories of the past. In response, Williams is shaping her own counter narrative of the parol, creating a visual language around it as a tool of resistance. Just as the documented historical lineage of the parol is both unclear and vague, Williams engages a repetitive, layered, and obscured approach to emphasize how complex and nuanced the subject of the parol is.
The sculptural elements in her practice, including Parol Tapestry 1, function as embodiments of the parol, employing a heuristic approach that reveals the plurality and multiplicity of meanings. In Parol Tapestry 1, the parol repeats itself, appears fragmented and lives among religious, native, and historical objects that Williams has layered with paint, plastic bags, woven materials and other cultural ephemera that she sourced from people in her community. By utilizing ephemera as evidence, Williams’ assemblages reiterate the syncretic essence of the colonized past and display the vitality of worldmaking. – Eve Moeykens-Arballo
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Eve Moeykens-Arballo is a writer, researcher, and curator based in Brooklyn, NY. She holds an MA from the University of Southern California Roski Curatorial Practices and the Public Sphere Program and a BA in French and Film Studies
from Marlboro College.
She currently works at the Brooklyn Public Library in the Adult Learning Department and as a research associate for an upcoming exhibition on Alison Knowles. Her research interests include the polemics of access as it relates to memory institutions such as libraries, archives, and museums.