Titus Kaphar tops my list of ‘Artists to Watch,’ though it seems that most of the art world had their eyes trained on him already. When it comes to iconography in art, Kaphar appears to be screaming the loudest. His series of solo shows, project and installations continue to bend and shape the conversation on race, hidden histories, and our justice system – or lack thereof.
“My work is an introduction to my vocabulary,” Kaphar says. “It looks at the way I deal with history and my different modes of intervention.”
Indeed it does. Kaphar works with conceptual goals; he reimagines historical events looking for his truth.
You stand before his paintings – these contextual classic and Renaissance painting styles and just as your brain begins to dive into that natural art recall, a reprogramming starts. You notice the intentional cuts, bends, and sculpts in the canvas’, reconstructing and manipulating the way people of color are seen in this version of art history. Kaphar confronts you with the possibilities of exploring new narratives – there is no onrushing of guilt or innocence an appropriating that doesn’t feel dehumanizing but that challenges the originality of story that once took precedence on the canvas, until Kaphar reshaped that narrative.
“A painting may inspire, but it’s people who make change.”
Enjoy exploring these links for more information on Kaphar:
- Titus Kaphar website.
- In this Time video, watch Kaphar in the process of making his oil painting, “Yet Another Fight for Remembrance” for Time Magazine’s cover of the Ferguson protests.
- Titus Kaphar: History in the Making – a short video on his 2009 Seattle Art Museum Show
- Dismantling History: An Interview with Titus Kaphar | Art21
- See what engages him by taking on some books from Kaphar’s ‘Recommend Reading.’
Feature photo of Titus Kaphar with Gift of Shrouded Descent, 2014, Oil and mixed media on canvas by Kubiat Nnamdie.Photos by HAHA Magazine