Don’t You Worry Bout Tomorrow Everything Gon’ Be Alright

Hadara Willis 

BFA Solo Exhibition

Kresge Art Center | Gallery 101

April 1 – April 5, 2024

Closing Reception: Friday, April 5 | 6 pm – 8 pm

As a mixed media artist, my mediums of choice can be narrowed down to painting, ceramics, and collage. I explore modes of semi-abstraction to engage in a dance between fragmentation, incompletion, and absolution.

The visual language of my two-dimensional work continues to be dominated by my approach to semi-abstraction and collage in relation to the figure. I discover and develop new imagery that is composed of a wide array of images, rather than sole sources from mainstream media, to represent the black experience more accurately. Much of my art remains in conversation with and is inspired by other black contemporaries. Though I have long used nature as a foundation for my sourcing and inspiration for my ceramic work, my recent series has begun to also incorporate aspects of my identity and experience. Reflected across all mediums are themes of opulence and fragmentation, with drawing or collage playing an essential role in holding disparate parts of my experience together.

“Don’t You Worry” aims to elevate the black figure, experience, and culture to a status commonly unseen or underrepresented even today within the art world, pulling from a collection of newly found family photographs. My family, whom I hold close to my heart, have always been pillars of support and admiration for me, and so this recent discovery presented me with not only new folklore, but a set of imagery to transform into rich environments reminiscent of the spaces I so often occupied as a child. Working so closely with these images has given me a greater appreciation for my family and culture, and the knowledge that was imparted upon me. My father has said to me time and time again that I have enough to worry about in the present, and that everything will turn out okay in the future. This sentiment echoes much of what I believe to be the black experience-hope and belief in a better future.