by Jasmine Render

As an art major at the University of West Georgia, Jasmine Williams strived to create work that signified political importance and substance.

Jasmine Williams “In my work, I want to create a space that allows black women and men to be complete and complex,” she said. “I love the idea of being able to share ideas in many places at once.”

That work continues as the UWG alumna prepares for her trip to Las Vegas to attend the Southern Graphics Council (SGC) International Conference in April.

After graduating from UWG in December 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in printmaking, Williams received the SGC International Undergraduate Fellowship Grant. As part of the award, she will receive two stipends — one to complete a new body of print-based work and another to attend the conference.

The grant recognizes works of print that signify issues in today’s society and serve as a depiction of political and economic growth for future generations.

“As a black woman in America, I am constantly presented with false images of what I am and what I should be,” she shared. “Though I have read books, sorted through feelings and changed my mind time and time again, I am still left feeling weaponless in the fight against social injustice.”

During the grant application process, Williams specifically highlighted art faculty member Stephanie Smith, with whom she worked closely to develop the ideas and imagery for her senior exhibition, 5/Fifths.

Though Williams confessed she can feel rather insecure about her work, she said Smith reassured her, which helped push her in the right direction.

Williams recently held an exhibition for 5/Fifths at PaperWorkers Local, a nonprofit artists’ cooperative in Birmingham.

“I shed a lot of fear within my practice,” Williams said. “That spilled over into my life and the way I operate in the world.”

Looking back on her time at UWG, Williams advised aspiring art majors to “show up and take notes” while in school. She mentioned her struggles with rejection and said they served as motivation to pursue her goals.

As her trip to Las Vegas nears, Williams hopes students look toward her journey and use it as fuel to jumpstart their careers.

“It's really just more confirmation I’m on the right path and all the hard work and long days and nights aren’t in vain,” she concluded. “This is a huge honor and to receive something like this so early in my career is surreal.”

Posted on March 29, 2018