Frohawk Two Feathers / MATRIX 170
On errythang (On everything)
October 2, 2014 – January 4, 2015
MATRIX 170 presents the work of Frohawk Two Feathers, the artistic alter-ego of Umar Rashid (born 1976, Chicago, Illinois), a performer, writer, history buff, and visual artist. Blending quasi-history with a reimagined counter narrative, the artist’s epic story begins in 1658 and focuses on the rise of “Frengland”—a union of France and England. Merged as one huge, colonial empire, Frengland’s complex international saga of exploration, colonization, and world domination is documented by Two Feathers in an ongoing project that will one day conclude in 1880. The visual narrative is told through portraits of duplicitous royal family members, corrupt military leaders, and rebel assassins coded with facial tattoos, tribal costumes, military uniforms, and accessories. Intricate maps of expeditions and battle sites document the progress of the unstoppable superpower. Frengland’s territories expand as Two Feathers participates in exhibitions in various cities around the world, where each new setting becomes part of the ongoing story.
His MATRIX project, On errythang (On everything), picks up the narrative in the winter of 1791. The island of Manhattan had been invaded by Frenglish troops led by Bonnie Prince Johnnie Sidney forcing King Arend of New Holland up the Hudson River and into Connecticut in order to disrupt the trade routes and cut off supplies to New Amsterdam. To reach a defendable fort in Suckiaug (the Native American name for Hartford), along the Connecticut River, is an integral part of the story.
Other interesting developments in this narrative are the power dynamics of the two colonial powers and the interaction between the Black slaves fighting for Frengland and the freedmen fighting alongside them. This relationship is explored through philosopher G. W. F. Hegel’s master-slave dialectic discussed in Phenomenology of Spirit (1807). His philosophical approach is tempered by a strong dose of epic sadness and satire reflecting James Fenimore Cooper’s highly flawed, classic historical novel The Last of the Mohicans (1826). On errythang, the title, refers to the contemporary African American colloquialism that means “no matter what” or “going all out,” a stance shared by the dedicated participants in this epic narrative.
Frohawk Two Feathers (born Umar Rashid) earned a BA in 2000 from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. His artist pseudonym, which suggests his mixed heritage, is central to his work. The artist had his first solo museum exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver in 2012 and his second at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno in 2013. He has participated in group exhibitions at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and Burlington City Arts in Vermont. The artist’s work is the public collections of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in California; Mount Holyoke College Art Museum in South Hadley, Massachusetts; and the 21C Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to the aforementioned venue sites, Two Feathers’s faux-historical saga (spanning 1658 to 1880) has integrated diverse international exhibition-specific locations including Basel, Switzerland; Berlin, Germany; and Cape Town, South Africa. Frohawk Two Feathers’s MATRIX project will be his first solo museum exhibition in the Northeast.
Thursday, Oct. 2, 5 – 8pm | First Thursday: Frohawk Two Feathers / MATRIX 170 (Artist Talk at 6pm)
MATRIX 170 is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. The MATRIX program is also supported in part by the current and founding members of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art’s Contemporary Coalition. Support for the Wadsworth Atheneum is provided in part by the Greater Hartford Art Council’s United Arts Campaign and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Office of the Arts, which also received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
IMAGES ABOVE (left to right):
Frohawk Two Feathers, Pharaoh of New York, Bonnie Prince Johnnie, Conqueror of the Dutch in North America and self-styled Liberator of the Lenape, Crown ruler of the Lower Hudson, Or, a ruthless thug, out for self, snatching cribs and paper on the fly, looking cool in his finery, 2014, acrylic, ink, coffee, and tea on paper, courtesy the artist. © Frohawk Two Feathers
Frohawk Two Feathers, That high-born on the team, Lucretia Theroux, Self- styled Queen of New York and founder of the Order of Bast, Or, another example of the historical side-chick, dipped in the latest fashions, fronting like she real, 2014, acrylic, ink, coffee, and tea on paper, courtesy the artist. © Frohawk Two Feathers