Amanda Williams’ What black is this, you say?

Amanda Williams. Limited edition AP of 32. Raw silk, silver embroidery, 18 x 18 inches. Hand painted work on paper, watercolor, 4 x 8 inches.

Amanda Williams’ What black is this, you say? 

Collectible Series & Limited-Edition Artist Proofs

As part of EXPO CHICAGO’s inaugural Dine& initiative, which pairs fine dining and intimate conversations with Chicago’s arts and cultural leaders, EXPO CHICAGO has partnered with Chicago-based artist Amanda Williams and Open Editions to produce two variations on Williams’ latest series, What black is this, you say? The two new editions—a collectible series and limited-edition artist proof—expand on Williams’ multi-platform conceptual project, by the same name, which employs color to respond to the visual culture of protest. 

About the Series

What black is this, you say? originated in response to “Blackout Tuesday” on June 2, 2020—where over 28 million Instagram users flooded the platform with a black square to show solidarity with the #blacklivesmatter movement in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. However well-intentioned, this takeover was fraught with political and social tension, as the onslaught of posts began to flood the Black Lives Matter hashtag, pushing down any helpful information and resources for activists and protestors. 

Williams’ work challenges this “black out” of communication, or non-information, to evoke a more complex narrative of color and criticism in the public realm. Via her personal Instagram account, Williams created a feed of black squares or images—each a different hue of black, details of recognizable objects taken from the artist’s surroundings and family history, and accompanied by a caption: at once sardonic, witty, intimate, and grave. As the artist writes, “You can’t just say ‘black’…which one?” 

Find out more by visiting Open Editions. Proceeds from the sale of both editions will benefit Enrich Chicago, a non-profit offering anti-racism learning workshops, capacity-building training, and leadership development for the Rising Arts Leaders of Color program.

Amanda Williams
Set of 6 Dinner Napkins
Various fabrics, 18 x 18 inches 
Includes artist-designed fabric swatch card on cardstock, 4 x 8 inches 

$85 USD
Unlimited edition

This collectible and functional edition includes a set of six embroidered dinner napkins, each sewn from a different fabric to portray a range of shades and textures. This edition includes an artist-designed swatch card, which features the fabrics in a conventional grid, paired with captions used in the original series. 

What black is this, you say? (2020) | Limited Edition AP | $450


Amanda Williams
Limited edition AP of 32
Raw silk, silver embroidery, 18 x 18 inches 
Hand painted work on paper, watercolor, 4 x 8 inches 

Signed and numbered by the artist.

This limited-edition artist proof presents an adaptation of What Black is This, You Say? as an embroidered silk dupioni fabric paired with a work on paper. Adopting the form of a dinner napkin and conventional swatch card used by fabric manufacturers, the work acts as a vehicle for messages written by the artist in response to the visual culture of protest.

Suggested framing instructions: Upon Request