Myrtle Williams Spirit of the Sisterhood
“To me, women rule the world”– Myrtle Williams
Myrtle Williams | Spirit of the Sisterhood
“Williams’ objects shape shift and flow in and out of gendered and racial legibility; at once masking and showing off the potency of her black women heroines.”– Romi Crawford
Over the course of 35 years, Myrtle Williams (b. 1938) made over 300 ceramic female figures at the ceramics studio of Montgomery County Community College. Each layered with the textures, signs, and symbols of her travels and imbued with her lifelong desire to give visibility to Black women, her deeply personal and powerful troupe of figures glazed in black, green, and brown stoneware are her heroines of African American culture and liberation—past, present, and future.
Williams and her husband, Dr. John T. Williams Sr have long championed the work of Black artists and examples of Black figuration as they amassed an extensive collection of works by African American artists such as Barkley Hendricks, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, and Charles White alongside African masks, figures and rare Black dolls gathered in travels across all 50 of the United States, nearly every continent, and several countries in Africa. “I fell in love with figures—women and Black women— because I wanted to see someone that looked like me.”