February 8, 2017-September 26,2017
Curated by Martina Dodd
Imar Hutchins explores the legacy of African American resiliency in the face of injustice through a series of collage and mixed-media portraits. Adorned in elaborate jewelry and colorful symbolism his portraits are not only decorated in fanciful garb, but also cloaked in honor and dignity. Inspired by the reverence bestowed on cows in India, his work offers a unique commentary on the (mis)treatment of Black people in America. Hutchins’ use of vintage Jet, Ebony and Life magazines along with old newspaper clippings helps to contextualize the Black American experience, while his surrealist imagery re-imagines what it means to be seen as Black.
The works featured in Sacred Cows depict close friends and family members of the artist including his daughter, father and great uncle. His highly stylized portraits are not meant to be realistic representations of the individuals, but seek to reveal their inner beauty and inherent divinity. Animal characteristics, such as cow ears and horns, are added to the faces, as well as adinkra symbols and religious iconology, which are woven into the background of his assemblages. Through the blending of species, cultures and belief systems the artist calls attention to the parallels and paradoxes of sacred cattle and exploited chattel.
About the Artist:
Imar Hutchins is a self-taught artist based in Washington, DC. He works primarily in collage, mixed media and printmaking. Imar’s portraits combine vintage black magazines, hate mail and other historical documents as well as found objects, tissue paper and new materials. He imagines that people themselves are collages–amalgams of countless disparate fragments and inputs. He “remixes” his subjects in new and often Afro-futuristic ways, but always drawing from (or challenging) a historical notion.
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