Umar Rashid (Frohawk Two Feathers)
Was born in 1976 in Chicago
In 2003, after moving from Chicago, IL, to Los Angeles, CA, Umar Rashid (Chicago, U.S.A 1976) began to write and illustrate the history of the Frenglish Empire (a portmanteau of France and England) between 1658 and 1880, based on the supposition that the historically antagonistic empires of France and England made a tenuous peace and unified into a single, gargantuan colonial Empire. The Frenglish Empire ruled over a large area of the planet, often challenged by the historical, traditional Empires of Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Prussia, Austria (and “client” states of the Holy Roman Empire), Russia and the Ottomans. However, the main focus of his work are the stories and reinvented histories of black people, who are often marginalized and omitted from the historical record, and the intricacies of race, gender, class, and overall power in the colonial world. In the process of writing and illustrating this story, the artist created alternative narratives that has the main narrative as reference and focuses on the cosmologies of the Empires, with a focus on religion and spirituality. The narrative thread throughout the work (aside from the written narrative) employs iconography as a place marker between past, present, and future. This element is realized in the work “Imperial Tattoo System” (a classifying mechanism he uses to define and differentiate the characters in the story) and within the maps and cosmological diagrams. The narrative is also massively influenced by the hip hop culture of his youth (Golden age), various pop culture references (modern and ancient), gang and prison culture, and revolutionary movements throughout time. Umar Rashid currently lives and works in Los Angeles. He has exhibited his works internationally in important institutions and private galleries.