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Aubrey Williams Exhibition - Japan

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 1988
Year published: 1988

image of Aubrey Williams Exhibition - Japan

Substantial catalogue produced to accompany Aubrey Williams Exhibition which ran for a mere six days, at Shibuya Tokyu Plaza, Japan, 9 - 15 May 1988. The exhibition was supported by The British Council, The Arts Council of Great Britain and the Commonwealth Institute. This extensively illustrated catalogue was produced to acompany the exhibition and featured some 60 colour plates, with text in both Japanese and English. The lavish reproductions were divided into three sections. Fully half of the plates were of Williams’ hugely accomplished paintings of birds, produced between 1977 and 1984. Eighteen of the plates related to Williams’ Olmec Maya series, executed between 1982 and 1985. The remaing twelve plates related to Williams’ quest to give visual form to the music of the Russion composer Dmitri Shostakovich, in paintings executed in the early 1980s.

The first page of the catalogue carried an inscription written by Aubrey Williams. It read, “From Aubrey, To Sandy [Nairne] the upper right hand corner of this page has been clipped.

An introduction to the exhibition/catalogue was provided by the long time admirer of Williams’ work, Guy Brett. His text opened as follows: “The first thing to strike an audience seeing Aubrey Williams’ large paintings in London, and perhaps in Japan too, must be the richness of their colours erupting like a flow of lava or fixed like precious stones and the vigour of the movements, displacements, shocks, suggested in each painting. But very soon you find you are asking yourself the question, what do these paintings mean? The cataclysmic violence of some canvases compared with the peace of others, the combination of modes which range from figurative clarity to the most ‘abstract’ suggestivenesss (often within the same painting), the sense of a communication which is coded, but urgent, all these inflections produce a longing to interpret.”

The cover of the catalogue featured a detail of Olmec Maya - Moon Time III, 1984 1190 x 1780mm.

Contents as follows:

Message, Henry Meyric Hughes, Director, Fine Arts Department, The British Council, London

Aubrey Williams Note of Appreciation, James Porter, Director, Commonwealth Institute

The Art of Aubrey Williams, Introduction by Guy Brett

Colour plates

The remaining pages of the catalogue had text in Japanese, consisting of (amongst other things):

Descriptions of the 30 birds illustrated

Extract from the book Great West Indians, by Threse (sic) Mills. [This is a translation into Japanese of the entry on Aubrey Williams in the book Great West Indians: Life Stories for Young Readers by Therese Mills. The book consists of 19 biographical sketches of a range of important historical and contemporary Caribbean figures and personalities. Portraits of the figures featured, by Tony Evora, embellish the entries. Longman Caribbean, 1973.]

Artist’s CV

List of works



Related people

»  Guy Brett

Born, 1942. Died, 2021

»  Henry Meyric Hughes

Born, 1942

»  Aubrey Williams

Born, 1926 in Georgetown, Guyana. Died, 1990

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