David Emmett Williams is a descendent of the famous Kiowa war chief Satanka (Sitting Bear). David's father Emmett Williams was a noted Indian singer & leather designer. David studied art at Bacone College (Muskogee, OK). He worked as a factory worker, a teacher of Indian Culture, a traditlonal dancer & singer, & as a painter. David made his home in Tahlequah, OK.
As a young boy, David first picked up a paint brush after watching his elders painting. He did not become a serious painter until 1959. David worked in acrylic, tempera, gouache, pencil & prints. David estimated that he had painted over 2,000 paintings before losing his eyesight to diabetes in 1981. During his final years, David continued to sing at powwows when his health allowed, even though he was undergoing dialysis treatments.
David exhibited extensively, with solo exhibitions at the Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ), the Southwest Museum (Los Angeles, CA), the Southern plains Indian Museum & Craft Center (Anadarko, OK) & the Tryons Gallery (London, England). David won numerous awards at the American Indian Exposition (Anadarko, OK), the Trail of Tears Art show at the Cherokee National Museum (Tahlequah, OK), the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonials (Gallup, NM) & the Philbrook Museum of Art (Tulsa, OK). David also exhibited at the Arizona State Museum at the University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), the Mccombs Gallery at Bacone College (Muskogee, OK), the Bismark National Indian Art Show (Bismark, ND), the First Annual National American Indian Art Exposition (Charlotte, NC), the Laguna Gloria Art Museum (Austin, TX), the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art (Owensboro, KY) & the United States Dept. of the Interior (Washington, D.C.). In 1972, David participated in the Contemporary Southern Plains Indian Painting Exhibition tour sponsored by the Southern Plains Indian Museum & the Oklahoma Indian Arts & Crafts Co-operative (Anadarko, OK). In 1980, David designed the Bacone college Centennial Logo. In 1983, David was inducted into the Bacone College Alumni Hall of Fame.
Numerous private & public art collections feature artwork by David Williams, including the Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History & Art (Tulsa, OK), the Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ), the Philbrook Museum of Art (Tulsa, oK),the Southwest Museum (Los Angeles, CA) & the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, D.C.).