A brightly-colored landscape filled with different figures

Umar Rashid (also known as Frohawk Two Feathers) was born in 1976 in Chicago. A natural storyteller, he has developed a practice that reinvents the paths of populations often omitted from the historical record. Through writing, illustration, painting, and sculpture, Rashid creates alternative historical narratives—including a what-if story about France and England unifying into a gargantuan empire—that reference a panoply of cultures and collapse geography and time while underlining the intricacies of race, gender, class, and overall power in the colonial world. Rashid steers clear of simplistic dichotomies and instead challenges the viewer to consider the complex feelings and conducts that make up every human. In his tales people are as likely to be heroes as villains no matter their color, which ultimately acknowledges their agency as historical actors. Rashid has invented a complex iconographic language that uses classifying systems, maps, and cosmological diagrams. His work is deeply informed by the hip-hop culture of his youth, using both modern and ancient references and such stylistic sources as Egyptian hieroglyphs, ledger art, Persian miniature painting, and illustrated Spanish colonial manuscripts. His work has appeared in group shows at François Ghebaly Gallery and Jeffrey Deitch, both in Los Angeles (all 2019).