Beyond the White Cube: Time Traveling with Artist Frohawk Two Feathers

by Yasmine Mohseni

Artist Frohawk Two Feathers has a gift. In his paintings and illustrations, he weaves a story that keeps his audience riveted and on their toes. Frangland? Is that a tiny forgotten island in the Caribbean? What about Batavia? That’s a little country nestled somewhere in Northern or Eastern Europe, right? No, neither of those places exist, they’re both instances of Frohawk Two Feathers creating fictional worlds through his art. With his singular voice, Frohawk creates luscious and highly detailed artwork, breathing fresh air into contemporary art’s stuffy climate. Born Umar Rashid in Chicago in 1976, he one day began looking into his own heritage and was disappointed at the meager information he uncovered. So, he started inventing his own ancestry. This then informed his work, in which he weaves actual history and fabricated history together to create an original narrative dealing with issues of colonialism and imperialism. I stopped by his studio recently and time traveled to the 18th century battlefield of Cape Colony…

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