When we first talked on the phone I told him RACE AND REVOLUTION was an art show about the roots of racism in the United States and that I had read this-and-that book and such-and-such article. (More on the research in future posts)
Umar, also known as FROHAWK TWO FEATHERS, listened patiently and quietly. I took this to mean I was pumping his brain full of knowledge. Little did I know I was about to get schooled.
Frohawk: When you say the roots of racism do you mean the colonization of the African continent?
Me: Sure, but the continent of Africa was colonized because of practices Europeans were already using before they arrived in Africa.
Frohawk: Well, if you really want to look at Europeans and racism, you need to take a look at this war and that war and . . . .
At this point my head is tucked so deeply in shame that it is hard to hear Frohawk’s voice through my phone’s earpiece.
As is evident from this re-imagined conversation and from his work, Frohawk Two Feathers cares deeply about history and is interested in connecting present-day audiences with stories of ancient wars and leaders. He is an intellectual force and clearly respects traditional art-making techniques. He paints narrative scenes on buckskin or aged paper, using coffee and tea, a time-consuming process, as shown above in both images. When I look at his work I am taken by this feeling that here is a man who respects and appreciates that history is an imperfect process. It has collected many failures, but within these failures Two Feathers is still able to find the dignity.
Please learn more about Frohawk Two Feathers and help make this public art show a reality by contributing HERE.