Narwhal is pleased to present We don’t need no water Le temps de la Chevauchée
, the first Canadian solo exhibition of Los Angeles-based visual artist Umar Rashid (Frohawk Two Feathers). Two Feathers’ graphic, mixed media drawings interweave real and imagined narratives, effectively destabilizing history while confronting issues of race, class, gender, power and truth.
Over the past seven years, Two Feathers has chronicled the global struggles between two mythic, colonial superpowers: the Frenglish Empire, an imagined amalgam of France, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and the Kingdom of Holland and Zeeland. In We don’t need no water Le temps de la Chevauchée, Two Feathers builds upon the narrative of his last exhibition, The War of The Mourning Arrows. We begin after the Siege of Fort Ferdinand in northern New Netherland (New York), where the real power behind the Frenglish interests in North America — Bonnie Prince Johnnie of the Frenglish House of Sidney — and the Empire’s true intent are revealed. We don’t need no water shifts the saga to Canada and the St. Lawrence River, interlacing fur trade routes and an emergent realm: The Free Kingdom of Avalon (Toronto).
Based on extensive research into the history and geography of Canada in the 18th and 19th centuries, Two Feathers offers an alternative to the Eurocentric, Caucasian and male-dominated fabric of our country and Western civilization as a whole. Utilizing a vast, fictional cast of subjects, including militiamen, dukes, lords, tribesmen and a rebel fighting force of freed slaves, these characters vary in ethnicity and race, with women frequently assuming strong leadership positions. By illuminating demographics traditionally marginalized based on race, gender and class, the artist challenges us to consider the untold part of our history — or to imagine it differently.
Within We don’t need no water Le temps de la Chevauchée, Two Feathers has created intricate ink and acrylic portraits of protagonists, narrative scenes and maps, individual habiliment, flags and drums of the warring factions. While the portraits appear aged like historical documents, the characters wear a provocative mix of period-appropriate clothing and contemporary fashion. In addition to this, Two Feathers employs a complex, codified system of tattoo symbols — many borrowed directly from gang and prison culture — to identify aspects of his characters’ lives and affiliations. The titles of the portraits further emphasize their connection to contemporary culture by mining phraseology from hip hop, urban slang and song lyrics. Within these artifacts, Two Feathers weaves complex stories of falsified, glorified, and rectified histories that draw upon diverse traditions, ancestries and religions to form epic connections across time and geographical space.
Friday, October 4th
From Oct 4 – Nov 4, 2013
» ‘We don’t need no water’ Artist Statement (pdf)
About Umar Rashid (Frohawk Two Feathers)
Two Feathers earned his BA at Southern Illinois University in 2000 and has had recent solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, Colorado, Taylor de Cordoba Gallery, Los Angeles, and Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town. Recent group shows include exhibitions at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Morgan Lehman Gallery, New York, and Tilton Gallery, New York.
In 2013, Umar Rashid (Frohawk Two Feathers) has exhibited across the U.S. with exhibitions at the Nevada Museum of Art, the Visual Art Center of New Jersey and the Wadsworth Atheneum in Connecticut. His work is in the collections of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Progressive Corporation, and the 21C Museum. Frohawk Two Feathers’ work has been reviewed in Art in America, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times, among others.
» Umar Rashid (Frohawk Two Feathers) CV