November 20, 2020
By means of his meticulously rendered portraits, Santa Cruz-born artist Kajahl subverts the custom of Blackamoor—a extremely stylized European aesthetic that visualized folks of coloration, notably African males, in exoticized varieties and subservient roles—by as an alternative depicting Black topics in valorized positions. A part of a sequence titled Royal Specter, the vivid work middle alchemists, students, astronomers, and varied mental figures inside grandiose and splendid settings.
Whereas the artist’s works evoke the racist sculpture and ornamental items of Blackamoor, they take away the historic context and alter the unique narrative via anachronistic particulars. Every oil portray is layered with imagined components, from the inaccuracies of the supply materials to Kajahl’s portrayals of fictional characters. “My fantasy is gazing again at their fantasy. I’m their fantasy and they’re mine… I’m the specter of their creativeness,” he says.
Kajahl’s work at present is on view at Chicago’s Monique Meloche Gallery via December 19. You’ll be able to sustain together with his traditionally subversive tasks on Instagram.
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