Hugh Wilson is an artist, writer and traveler. His projects cover a broad range of socio-economic themes such as equality, race, class, gender and migration. He has painted in the coal mines in West Virginia, cut lettuce with migrant workers at the US-Mexico border, lived with Tuareg in the Sahara and solo hiked in Mongolia.
His painting travels began when the US Ambassador to Algeria invited him to travel and paint for an exhibition at the US Embassy in Algiers. It was in the remote south of the country that Hugh developed his love for portraiture and crossing cultural barriers. After Algeria he traveled to Niger to live with migrant workers in the remote village of Gagawa. He spent nearly a year in Africa.
Upon his return to the USA, Hugh traveled in a camper through working class America. His American project focused on communities in traditional manual labor industries such as ranching, commercial fishing, coal mining and farming. He finished his America travels with a year along La Corrida - the seasonal Hispanic labor movement between Arizona and the Central Valleys, CA.
Hugh has also documented displaced youth in Vanuatu and Haitian migrant workers in the bateyes of the Dominican Republic. His poetry from the bateyes was published in the collection Batey Cacata.
Hugh's paintings have been exhibited in Algeria, France, the Dominican Republic and the USA. His photography and writings have been published in Fodors, Narratively, Labletter and through a collection of his poetry: Batey Cacata. He has spoken about his travels at community centers, schools and museums in the USA and abroad.
Hugh received a BA in Economics from Duke University and an MFA in Painting from the New York Academy of Art. He currently lives in Princeton, NJ, with his wife and three daughters. As a volunteer, Hugh teaches poetry at a local juvenile detention center and holds an annual poetry contest for residents through the Hugh Sarah Poetry Foundation.
Write-up by Sara Herman: Humanity As A Map: Portraits That Smell of Years and Sweat