Ayale Mikeal Williams
by Tamika Williams
(Camrose, Montego Bay, St James, Jamaica)
Ayale Mikeal Williams
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Ayale Mikeal Williams is the only child of Ian and Tamika Williams.
He was born in 1979, and although it did not take long to realize that he was hearing impaired, he spent his early years in silence.
His parents were unable to afford the necessary hearing aids, so he learned to read lips and communicate as best he could, and he improvised in communicating with other children.
Growing up poor in Jamaica he learnt to value the things that make us uniquely Jamaican, and to be happy with little.
Pieces of sticks became guns, and he and his friends ran around mouthing "bang bang".
Toys were made from discarded juice boxes and bottle stoppers.
He had a special way of laughing, which made anyone hearing laugh as well.
He started primary school being able to say only two words "Mama" and "Dada".
Finally, at about the age of seven in second grade, he got fitted with his first hearing aid.
Growing up he used to observe his Dad drawing and painting, and often copied whatever his dad did.
And being unable to speak as a toddler he learnt to communicate through his drawings, which were very good for his age.
Soon his only gifts were paints, brushes, crayons, sketch pads, and just about anything to do with art.
We would ask our friends visiting from overseas to bring him any art supplies they could.
He began making a living from his art at the age of eight in grade three. He would draw maps for teachers on their chalk boards, and on cardboard or cartridge paper, and collect a fee. This encouraged his ambition to follow in his father’s footsteps.
He is a graduate of Herbert Morrison Comprehensive High School in Montego Bay, and holds a Diploma in Graphic Desk Top Design from The Art Institute of Ft Lauderdale in Florida.
Ayale loved to cut his hair at the barber weekly, and was what we called "a cha cha boy" (well-groomed) at the time.
Leaving home for the first time to attend school in the USA must have been a difficult time for him, as he had to share a dorm room, which he was unaccustomed to doing.
On one of his visits home he arrived with a large beard and hair about three inches long, and in dreadlocks.
His explanation to his Dad was that he could not afford to pay the barber weekly, and he missed his dad ... it was his way of identifying with his Dad.
After his first semester he was honoured to have his work chosen to be displayed in the Art Institutes Exhibition, and on graduating he had a GPA of 3.5 in Graphic Design.
On returning to Jamaica he tried to get a job in the field that he was now trained and qualified for.
However, for Jamaica, he was over qualified. Although many businesses wanted a Graphic Artist, no one was prepared to employ a highly qualified graphic artist.
So his Dad purchased him a camera capable of doing graphics, a computer, paper and printer, and he set up his own graphic business, Graphic Dimensions, in our home.
Soon he was doing flyers and wedding invitations, but this was not bringing in enough money and it was not challenging enough for him.
He got a job in Montego Freeport doing computer designs for printing on T-shirts, but again this was only paying him enough for his transportation.
Ahhh...Ras Natango Gallery and Garden
So Ayale then joined the family business where he is now able to challenge himself in un-imaginable ways.
He does all the graphic design for the business, and as an exceptional artist himself, he is able to add his work to the gallery.
He is a talented young man who makes his parents proud.
Currentlly he wears two hearing aids. He is a listener, and not a big talker.Ahhh...Ras Natango Gallery and Garden
is special in that each member of the Williams family are all passionate about art, crafts and quality. And Ayale brings a lot of youthful and new ideas to the table in his quiet way.
He will eventually inherit and take over the family business, that he is now an integral part of, and is seeing through all the stages of growth, sacrificing when the business cannot pay him, and still remaining committed.
We are happy and confident in knowing he will continue to make the right choices for himself and the business, whatever they may be.
A Mom's Appreciation
It is an honour as his Mom to write this about him.
He has helped me to be the Mom that I am, and I wish everyone could get to know him.
He cooks and experiments on us when he comes up with new creations.
The sea creatures that he sculps using shells, stones and broken glass washed up on our sea shores, are the best pieces of sculpting I have seen.
He does have his own style, though it is influenced by his Dad.
In a world where young people wear their pants below the hips and indiscipline is the order of the day, he is a shining example of what a young man should be, and a ray of hope for his family, his community, his island and the world.
He reinforces the thought that there are other Jamaicans like him, and this gives us reason to hope.His Dad and I
are proud to call him our son, and girls he is single at the moment (smile).