This collage by Stan Squirewell is part of a series of works the artists is developing that examine the intersection of race, history and memory. Squirewell's own family history is blurred by a mixture of fact, lost details, family lore, and post-colonial assumptions. In his quest to learn about his own past, he began an active investigation into the idea that all histories—and especially those of Black people—are constructed, rather than fixed. In his collage works, he appropriates images of colonial art and subverts them with images of African diasporal figures and a blend of contemporary and historic clothing. Squirewell furthermore burns his frames, and sometimes burns the edges of the collages themselves. About this gesture, Squirewell says, "War and conquest were the things that I thought about the most. History idolizes non people of color, and histories that I grew up with were not the stories that my ancestors have. And most of what my ancestors have given to me have come from deep research and the burning and sacrifice of it all. The lives that were lost; the beautiful history of the negro in America. So for me it’s a reclamation. My work is challenging that history whilst acknowledging in it at the same time. And so the burning is symbolic as I grew up in the church and symbolizes the trinity. And so those elements have been pervasive throughout my work since I began drawing and making." Squirewell's collages reflect the true complexity and mystery that informs the constructed stories we tell about race in America.
Artist Biography: Stan Squirewell was born and raised in Washington, DC and currently lives and works in New York, NY. His artistic training began at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Since graduating he has continued his tutelage under many of DC’s legends including artists Michael Platt and Lou Stovall. Mr. Squirewell, is a painter, photographer, installation and performance artist. His work is multilayered and his subject matter tackles themes such as: race and memory through mythology, sacred geometry and science. He draws his inspiration from theory books, science fiction movies and novels, avant-garde jazz and indigenous storytelling. He is a (2007 MFA) graduate of the Hoffberger School of Painting where he studied with the late, Grace Hartigan. Mr. Squirewell is the first winner of the Rush Philanthropic and Bombay Sapphire Artisan series. He has performed with Nick Cave (SoundSuits) at the National Portrait Gallery and Jefferson Pinder with G-Fine Arts. He is privately and publicly collected, his works are in the Reginald Lewis Museum, the Robert Steele Collection and recently acquired by the Smithsonian for the African American Museum (2015.)