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Visual artist, Christopher Adam Williams (AKA "The Black DaVinci") celebrates the enduring beauty of women of character in this meditation on Proverbs 11:16.

Proverbs 11:16

The Modern Day Queen of Sheba & Queen Esther


Christopher Williams


Curated by: 

Rebecca Testrake


84 x 49.5 inches

Oil on canvas and copper leaf

Image by Giorgio Trovato

Primary Scripture

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"The Modern Day Queen of Sheba & Queen Esther" seeks to contribute to my emergent dialogue and expression of black joy. This body of work is dedicated to the joyous, resilient black women in my life. The use of the color purple invites a conversation about the color of our skin. Often our skin is associated with oil, darkness or dinginess. Darker skin, throughout history, has been considered ugly. However, the choice of the color purple is rooted not only in its beauty and luster, but also its royal ancestry.

Colonial kings and queens decreed only royalty and the sophisticated were allowed to wear purple. Purple dye was considered more valuable than gold. My work depicts that African Americans wear their royal ancestry on their skin everyday. I then look back to early modern art history from the Byzantine art period, the gold, copper and silver leaf used in the background highlights my subjects as being blessed by God or as an object of veneration. The relationship of purple and gold allows for each portrait to project a majestic, heavenly glow.

Spark Notes

The Artist's Reflection

Christopher Williams’ art practice focuses on Black Joy — a spiritual feeling that has uplifted the African Diaspora through countless trials and tribulations in the quest for freedom and equality. It defies a simplistic explanation. He explains its experience:

Black Joy is like a heartbeat. Never bitter, it is sweeter than the blackest of cherries or the richest of chocolates. It’s like a steady climb or an out-of-frame kiss. It is a moment that is magical and void of being Black, judged and discriminated against. My joy, my Black Joy may not be the same as the next.

It is my vehicle for connection, educating others and sharing my experience as a Black man. What makes the journey of my work unique is my ability to develop authentic empathy for my subject matter. I have found this process is like walking to the edge of darkness and then summoning the courage to take one more step to understand what lies beyond our differences. These steps are necessary to overcome bigotry, hatred and indifference, to embrace the pursuit of joy.

Christopher Williams

About the Artist

Honor Thy Father

Christopher Williams

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