Artist McWilliams’ exhibit opens Saturday

Photographer Kamia McWilliams will showcase her work in an exhibit titled “Aisha: She Who Lives” at the Carnegie Center in Fitzgerald on Saturday. (Special Photo)

FITZGERALD — Photographer Kamia McWilliams will showcase her work in an exhibit titled “Aisha: She Who Lives” at the Carnegie Center here on Saturday.

The exhibit will feature a series of portraits that offers a contemporary twist on traditional African style. Six poster-sized portraits will be on display alongside smaller prints at the exhibit. The prints were created through a partnership between the library at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, the Fitzgerald-Ben Hill Arts Council, and McWilliams herself.

McWilliams originally approached the Arts Council about becoming a member this past summer, but when Arts Coordinator Shelby Evans saw McWilliams’ portraits, she said she knew the artist’s work deserved to be showcased.

“When I saw Kamia’s work, I knew that she was an artist,” Evans said. “The Arts Council exists to provide opportunities for local artists of all mediums. We’re excited to host her work. This will be a wonderful exhibit for our community and region.”

McWilliams’ portraits often draw attention to the struggles of herself and her loved ones. In a series titled “I’m depressed, not defeated,” McWilliams photographed two young women battling depression and interviewed them about what that experience was like.

“Both women touched my heart and also gave me hope when it came to my personal experience with depression,” McWilliams said.

She also photographed her stepfather and his extensive burn scars for another series. Her stepfather, Milton Magwood, survived an explosion at his job that left him with severe burns. In McWilliams’ portraits of Magwood, he is shirtless, showing the scars all over his body, but he flexes his arm, showing his strength despite the scars.

The exhibit will feature six previously unseen portraits by McWilliams, and she has also written a book of poetry to go along with the show.

“These pieces of poetry were influenced by African-American culture, motherhood as a black woman and inner battles that African-American women face,” McWilliams said. “I wrote poems pertaining to my own personal experiences as far as depression, dealing with the death of my father and my opinion on Black Lives Matter. I strongly believe these poems stand out the most because of the emotions that were behind them as I wrote them.”

The opening reception for “Aisha: She Who Lives” will take place on Saturday from 5-7 p.m. at the Carnegie Center in Fitzgerald. The Carnegie Center is located at 120 S. Lee St. in Fitzgerald.

McWilliams’ prints and poetry collection will be on sale at the exhibit opening, and she will be available to sign copies of her book at the reception. The reception is free and open to the public, and light refreshments will be served.

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