Family emigrated to South Africa in 1948. In the 1980s, Williamson was well known for her series of portraits of women involved in the country’s political struggle. A Few South Africans went some way towards filling the representational void of people and events during apartheid. And in many ways, her video work focusing on South African immigrants is a return to this concern.
She says: “You become aware of the audience to whom you speak. In that sense, you think backwards: what you have to say, whom you say it to, and how it will reach the audience. Having to consider your work through the eyes of somebody who knows nothing about you as an artist and what you are doing is a useful exercise.”
Williamson has managed to avoid the rut of being caught in an apartheid-era aesthetic, she says: “I am never particularly interested in doing what I did the...last time. I take one thing and work it out a number of ways.” This fact is reflected in the variety of media Williamson embraces, from print to mixed media, video and site-specific installations.
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