<strong>William S. Burroughs</strong>, <em>The Painter’s Light</em>
(double-sided), 1987.<br>
Paint and gunshot holes on plywood,
83.8 x 71.1 cm.
<strong>William S. Burroughs</strong>, <em>Helpless Pieces in the Game He Plays</em> (detail), 1989. <br>Paint on Cadillac paper, 44.5 x 58.4 cm.<strong>William S. Burroughs</strong>, <em>Untitled (NO TRESPASSING sign)</em>, ca. 1988. 
Spray paint and gunshots on metal sign, 
36 x 55.5 cm.


William Burroughs at the Institut Française (Naked Lunch Launch series, Paris), 1959
Photo: © Brion Gysin.
William S. Burroughs, The Prison Scribe, c.1990. Ink, spray paint, photo and cut-out collage, 58.4 x 44.5 cm.

William S. Burroughs, a primary figure of the Beat Generation, profoundly influenced literature, media and successive generations of youth movements. In his incisive essays, longer fictional works, multimedia and visual art, he worked to expose political, economic and cultural control systems. Burroughs graduated from Harvard in anthropology. He mentored Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg in New York, where jointly they made a pact to change the course of literature. Burroughs explored relationships between word and image and, parallel to his literary output, made photographs and collages. The artist Brion Gysin introduced him to the powerful ‘cut-up’ technique, leading to influential collaborations between the two. When Gysin died in 1986, Burroughs honoured his friend by producing hundreds of paintings, collages and pieces of "shotgun art."

In 1988, October Gallery held the first solo exhibition of Burroughs' work outside the United States and in 1990 presented Two Collaborations: Keith Haring and William S. Burroughs. In 2012, All out of time and into space featured his space age art. In 2015, Can you all hear me? curated by Kathelin Gray, also exhibited other artists inspired by Burroughs: Liliane Lijn, Genesis P. Orridge, Brion Gysin, Shezad Dawood and Cerith Wyn Evans. Burroughs’ work has been featured in major international galleries and museums including ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany; Deichtorhallen Hamburg: Falckenberg Collection, Hamburg, Germany; Kunsthalle Wien (Vienna), Austria; Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA; New Museum, New York, USA; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland; Photographers’ Gallery, London, UK; Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, USA; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA. His work is in many major collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA; the British Museum, London, UK; Kochi Museum of Art, Kochi, Japan; and ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany. On 2 August 1997, Burroughs passed away at home. at the age of 83.

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Born in 1958, Buguma, Nigeria. Lives and works in London, UK.
1983-86   MA Sculpture, Royal College of Art, London, UK
1980-83   BA Hons Sculpture, Central School of Art and Design, London, UK
1979-80   California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, USA
Selected Solo Shows
2022    Jonkonnu Masquerade, October Gallery, London, UK
2021-22   All the World is Now Richer, Westminster City Council Hall, London, UK
2016    Primavera, October Gallery, London, UK
2010-14   All the World is Now Richer, Upper Waiting Gallery, The House of Commons London, UK; touring Bristol Cathedral, Bristol; Norfolk Cathedral, Norfolk; St Paul's Cathedral, London, UK
It’s Personal, Tiwani Contemporary Gallery, London, UK
2010   First Man, Potters Field Commission for Southwark Council, London, UK
Relative Pelican: Installation of Steel Sculptures, Stux Gallery, New York, USA
2009   Pain and Paradise, Kunstverein, Aalen, Germany
2008   The Pleasure of Seeing You: Sculpture and Fabric Patterns, Lethaby Gallery CSM, London, UK
Strength of Feeling, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK
2007   One Day Exhibition: Resistance and Remembrance 1807- 2007, The British Museum, London, UK
All the World is Now Richer, Harewood House Trust, Harewood, Leeds, UK
The World is Richer, Wallspace, All Hallows on the Hall, London, UK
2006   Sweeping, Camberwell College of Arts, London, UK
2005-06   11th Commandment Sculpture Tour, Peckham; Bexley; Enfield, UK
2004   Sokari Douglas Camp, Galerie Peter Herrmann, Berlin, Germany
2002-03   Imagined Steel, The Lowry Arts Centre, Manchester; Oriel Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno; Brewery Arts
Centre, Cirencester; Derby Museum and Art Gallery, UK
2000   Echolot, Galerie Peter Herrmann, Stuttgart, Germany
1999   Knots of the Human Heart, Morley Gallery, London, UK
Black History Month, Maritime Museum, London, UK
Sokari Douglas Camp: Church Ede, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, USA
1998-99   Spirits in Steel: The Art of the Kalabari Masquerade, American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA
1996   Steel Stories, Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham, UK
1994   Urban Walk, Barbican Centre, Museum of London, UK
1993   Steel Clothes and Ornamentation, Redfern Gallery, London, UK
1992   Urban Women, South Bank Centre, London; Sue Williams, London, UK
1991   Market People, Chelsea Arts Club, Pittminster Studio, London; Taunton, UK
1990   New Work, Sue Williams, London, UK
1988   Alali, Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool; City of Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery, UK
1987   Echoes of the Kalabari, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, USA
    Sculpture in collaboration with Sekiapu Dance Troupe, Africa Centre, London; Royal Festival
Hall, London; Commonwealth Institute, London; Museum of Mankind, London, UK
1985-88   Alali, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; Milton Keynes Exhibition Gallery;
Dorman Museum, Middlesborough, UK
1985   Alali: Kinetic Sculptures and Drawings, October Gallery, London, UK
1984   Artist of the Day, Angela Flowers, London, UK
1982   Alali (Festival Time), Africa Centre, London, UK
Selected Group Shows
2022-23   Europe Supported by Africa and America,The Dorothy and Michael Hintze Galleries, Sculpture in Britain, V&A, London, UK
2022   Kensington + Chelsea Art Week, London, UK
In a Pot of Hot Soup Brunei Gallery, SOAS, University of London, UK
Modern & Contemporary African Art; and CCA Lagos Benefit Auction, Sotheby's London, UK
2021   OIL. Beauty and Horror in the Petrol Age, Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg, Germany
Manmade at Boso-Satoyama Art Festival ICHIHARA ART X MIX 2020+: Journeys, Chiba prefecture, Japan
STOA169, Polling, Germany
2020   Atmospheres; Artists of the Transvangarde, October Gallery, London, UK
Boso-Satoyama Art Festival; ICHIHARA ART x MIX 2020, Boso Peninsula, Japan 
2019-23   Healing Power, Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam; Afrika Museum, Berg en Dal; Museum Volkenkunde, Leiden; Wereldmuseum, Rotterdam, Netherlands
2019   Dream No Small Dream: Celebrating 40 Years of the Transvangarde, October Gallery, London, UK
2017   Diaspora Pavilion during the Venice Biennale, Palazzo Pisani S. Marina, Venice, Italy
Celebrating Art and Music, Brunei Gallery SOAS, London, UK
The Female Aesthetic, Swindon Central Library, Swindon, UK 
2013   Sokari Douglas Camp CBE - Manuela Sambo, ARTCO Galerie, Herzogenrath, Germany
2012   Sculptors’ Drawings and Works on Paper, Pangolin London and Kings Place Gallery, London, UK
2011   As it Is! Contemporary Art from Africa and the Diaspora, Mojo Gallery, Dubai, UAE
Environment and Object: Recent African Art, Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, New York, USA
Fantastic Creatures, The British Museum International Touring Exhibition, Ulsan Museum, Ulsan, South Korea
2010   Modernities + Resistances/To All the Breathing of the World, Third World Festival of Black Arts & Cultures, Dakar, Senegal
2009-10   Identity and Self-Fashioning 1965-2009, Neuberger Museum of Art, New York, USA
BM Treasures Exhibition, Madrid, Spain
Henn Art Galerie, Maastricht, Netherlands
2009   In the Light of Play, Durban Museum, Durban, South Africa
Joburg Art Fair, Johannesburg, South Africa
Islands and their Worlds, Parc de la Villette, Paris, France
Kréyol Factory, Parc de la Villette, Paris, France
A Celebration of British Sculpture, Harold Martin Botanic Garden, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
Festival culturel panafricain d’Alger (PANAF) 2009, Algiers, Algeria
Roots and More: Journey of the Spirit, Africa Museum, Berg en Dal, Netherlands
Now We Are Ten, Campaign for Drawing, various locations across UK
2008   Dialogue of Cultures, ARTCO Galerie, Aachen, Germany
Salon d’Art Contemporain Africain, Brussels, Belgium
ARESUVA, African Regional Summit and Exhibition on Visual Art, Abuja, Nigeria
Black Womanhood, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, New Hampshire; Davis Museum and Cultural Centre, Wellesley, Massachusetts; San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California, USA
Design Without End: The Essential Art of African Textiles, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA
The Poetics of Cloth: African Textiles/Recent Art, Grey Art Gallery, New York University, USA
Auf Augenhöhe-Blicke auf Kunst und Kultur aus Afrika, Stadtische Galerie im Park, Viersen, Germany
2007   Africa Select I, ARTCO Galerie, Herzogenrath, Germany
Remembering Saro-Wiwa: The Living Memorial, Goldsmiths, London, UK
Alternative Narratives, The Alpha House, London, UK
52nd Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
In and Out of Africa, with ARTCO Galerie, Haus Der Völker (HDV), Schwaz, Austria
Terre Noire, Musée Maurice Denis, Saint- Germaine-en-Laye, France
From Outside, All Hallows-by-the-Tower, London, UK
Freedom: Slavery Past and Present, Morley College, London, UK
ARTFAIR 21 with ARTCO Galerie, Herzogenrath, Germany
2006-07   Trienal de Luanda, multiple locations, Luanda, Angola
2006   Afrika! Afrika!, Munich; Berlin, Germany
Chichester Festival, Chichester, UK
SD Observatorio, IVAM (Institut Valencia d’Art Modern), Valencia, Spain
Sokari Douglas Camp | Nicole Guiraud | Marcia Wok Kure | Louzla Darabi, Art Society Neue Galerie Landshut in cooperation with Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Government Center for Political Education, Foreign Ministry), Landshut, Germany
Remembering Saro-Wiwa: The Living Memorial, Arnolfini, Bristol, UK
2005-06   Retour au futur’ l’art de l’Afrique noir, Patrimoine Culturel et Actualité, Collection Elmer, Luxembourg
Africa Screams, Museum der Weltkulturen, Frankfurt, Germany
Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo- Kuti, Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts, Barbican Art Galleries, London, UK
Artists Selection, Peg Dollies on the Move! Brewery Arts, Cirencester, UK
Personal Selection, Brewery Arts, Cirencester, UK
2005-06   Kijken zonder grenzen, Hedendaagse Kunst in het Afrika Museum: de collectie Valt en verder, Afrika Museum, Berg en Dal, Netherlands
2005   Black President, The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo- Kuti, Contemporary Arts Centre, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Ground Force – Africa Garden, Endemol, UK Production for BBC, The British Museum, London, UK
Music in African Fine Art, Galerie im Waschhaus, Africa Festival, Potsdam, Frankfurt, Germany
Africa Screams, Kunstverein Aalen/Rathaus- Galerie, Aalen, Germany
2004-05   Africa Screams, Kunsthalle Wien, Wien, Austria
2004   Montigny-Dak’Art, Le Grand (Y) Off, Belgium
At Home with Art, The Lionel Phillip Collection, The Atkinson Gallery, Somerset, UK
DACS 20th Anniversary Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London, UK
Insights, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, USA
Africa Screams, Das Böse in Kino, Kunst und Kult Iwalewa-Haus, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany
2003-04   4th Plinth (Nominee Exhibition),The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, UK
2003   Exhibition of Contemporary African Art, The Bagagehal, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Royal Academy Summer Show, London, UK
Independence, South London Gallery, London, UK
Just Like a Fish in Water, Kunstverein Bad Salzdetfurth, Bodenburg, Germany
Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo- Kuti, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, USA
Africa Past, Present and Future, Westbourne Gallery, London, UK
Art Cologne, Cologne, Germany
Small is Beautiful XXI, Flowers Central, London, UK
2002   See the Talent,Brighton Museum and Art Gallery Touring, Brighton, UK
DAK’ART 2002 La Biennale de l’Art African Contemporain, Senegal
The Bridge, The Morley Gallery, London, UK
The Commonwealth 2002 and Beyond, Commonwealth Institute, London, UK
Encounters with the Contemporary, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, USA
2001-02   Encounters with the Contemporary, Smithsonian National Museum of Art, Washington, USA
Sainsbury/African Galleries, The British Museum, London, UK
The Artist and the City, Centre de Contemporània de Barcelona, Spain
Sense of Occasion – In association with Craftspace Touring , Birmingham, UK
2000   Hearst Gallery, Saint Mary’s College, Moraga, California, USA
    Distinguished Identities: Contemporary African Portraiture, Staller Centre for the Arts, State University of New York at Stony Brook, USA
1999-00   Tarble Arts Centre, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, USA
Transatlantic Dialogues - Contemporary Art In and Out of Africa, Auckland, New Zealand
Arche, Kunstgebäude im Schlosshof Bodenburg, Bodenburg, Germany
Expo 2000, Hanover, Germany
Black History Month, National Maritime Museum, London, UK
Still Form, Bright Line, Canary Wharf, London, UK
Women to Women, University Art Gallery, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, USA
1999   The Shape of the Century, Salisbury Festival, Salisbury and Canary Wharf, London, UK
Arts Council Collection, National Institute for Medical Research, London, UK
Les Champs de la Sculpture No.2, Champs Élysées, Paris, France
1998-00   Devious Devices - An Exhibition of Automata, Croydon Clocktower, London; Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton; Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester; Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham; Newport Museum and Art Gallery, Newport; Crafts Council Gallery, London, UK
1998-99   Global II, Addison Wesley Longman, Essex, UK
1998   Body & Soul, Stadsgalerij, Heerlen,   Netherlands
Das Vielfache Echo, Stuttgart, Germany
Around and Around Europe, Africa and USA, Galerie Peter Herrmann, Germany
British Figurative Sculpture Part 2, Flowers East, London, UK
Kleinplastiktriennalle, Fellbach, Germany
Small is Beautiful, Flowers East, London, UK
Forja el Espacia, Centro d’Arte Moderno, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria; Vencia, Spain; Callais, France
1997-98   National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan
1997   Havana Biennale, Havana, Cuba
1996   Die Andere Reise (The Other Journey), Kunste Hallie Krems, Austria
1995-96   Sculpture in Paradise, Chichester, UK
African Metal Work, Crafts Council, London, UK
An Inside Story, African Art of our Time; Setegaya Art Museum, Tokyo; Tokushima Modern Art Museum; Himeji City Museum of Art; Koriyama City Museum of Art; Marugame Genichiro
Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art (MIMOCA), Gifu, Japan
1995   Around and Around, Duala, Cameroon
1994-95   Another Country, Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
1994   Figure and Fantasy Sculpture, Canterbury, UK
1993-94   Contemporary Art Society Market, London, UK
1993   Unilever Recent Acquisitions, Unilever House, London, UK
1992   Art for a Fairer World - Oxfam 50th Anniversary Touring Exhibition, UK
1991-93   Africa Explores - New and Renewed Forms in 20th Century African Art, New Museum for Contemporary Art, New York; University Art Museum, Berkley; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; St. Louis Museum of Art; Corcoran Art Gallery, Washington DC, USA; Ludovic Forum, Aachen, Germany; Espace Lyonnaise d’Art Contemporain, Lyon, France; Fundacio Antoni Tapies, Barcelona, Spain; Tate Gallery, Liverpool, UK
1991   The South of the World, Galleria d’Arte Contemporanea, Marsala, Sicily
Art ’91, Islington, London, UK
Two Man Show, Marcus & Marcus Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands
1990   JAPE (Japanese Association for Promotion of Creative Events), Tokyo, Japan
Art ’90, Flowers East, London, UK
Art ‘90, Sue Williams, London, UK
Rainforest Festival - The Arts for the Earth Exhibition, Barbican Centre, London, UK
Five Contemporary Artists, Redfern Gallery, London, UK
Contemporary Art Society Market, London, UK
Small is Beautiful , Angela Flowers, London, UK
1989-90   Time and Motion, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle; City Art Centre, Edinburgh; The Minories, Colchester, UK
1987   Conceptual Clothing, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK
Performance in Art/Art Performance, Castle Museum, Nottingham, UK
Springing to Life, Manchester City Art Gallery, Manchester, UK
Influences, South London Art Gallery, London, UK
Palm Trees, West African Music Village, Kew Gardens, London, UK
1986-87   From Two Worlds, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; Fruit Market Gallery, Edinburgh, UK
1986   In the Eye of the Sun, Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
Five Festival Sculptors, Stoke-on-Trent Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, UK
MA Show, Royal College of Art, London, UK
The National Garden Festival, Stoke-on-Trent, UK
Contemporary Art Fair, Covent Garden, London, UK
1985   Visual Aid for Band Aid, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK
Artists Against Apartheid, Royal Festival Hall, London, UK
New Horizons, Royal Festival Hall, London, UK
Contemporary African Art, The Learning Material Centre, Highbury, London, UK
1984   Textiles Making and Meaning, Brixton Art Gallery, London, UK
Graham Park Festival, Graham Park Library, London, UK
African Music Village, Commonwealth Institute, London, UK
1983   Amy Sadur Friedlander Memorial Art Fund, Swiss Cottage Gallery, London, UK
New Contemporaries, ICA, London, UK
Christie’s Inaugural Show, London, UK
Sculptural Drawings  , Ruskin College, Oxford, UK
2008   Governor, University of the Arts, London
2007   Vice-President Kalabari Union
2007   Culture and Heritage Award - The 4th Annual Black Business Award, UK
2006   Honorary Fellow of University of the Arts, London
2005   Awarded CBE
2004   Finalist for Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square, London
2000   Commonwealth Grant
1983   Princess of Wales Scholarship and Henry Moore Bursary
1982   Saatchi & Saatchi Award
1981   Amy Sadur Friedlander Prize
Selected Collections
American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA
British Museum, London, UK
Bremen Museum, Germany
Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas, Spain
Citibank Corporation
Fitchburg Art Museum, Boston, USA
Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Canada
Horniman Museum, London, UK
Leicestershire Education Authority, UK
Leicestershire Museums, UK
Minneapolis Museum of Art, USA
Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
Skidmore University, New York, USA
Standard Charted Bank, London, UK
National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian
Institution, Washington DC, USA
Unilever, London, UK
Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, UK
St. Thomas’s Hospital, South London, UK
Michael Graham-Stewart, London, UK
Collection Hans J. Bogatzke, Herdecke, Germany
Collection Artur und Heidrun Elmer, Aalen, Germany
International Finance Corporation, World Bank, Washington, DC, USA