This painting by Alfred Conteh is part of a series titled “Two Fronts,” which was recently celebrated in the monographic exhibition The Sweet Spot at Clark Atlanta University Art Museum. Grounded in the realm of portraiture, this series explores images of contemporary members of the African diaspora, placing the figures in what are often mundane environments. Conteh’s treatment of the figures, including the way he has them inhabit their surroundings, lends them a wise, gentle, heroic spiritual presence. Employing mediums such as atomized metal powder and soil, Conteh endows the surfaces of these paintings with a textural quality akin to that of the built world he paints—that of the contemporary, urban American South.
About the Two Fronts series, Conteh says, "This body of work is a visual exploration of how african diasporal societies in the south are fighting social, economic, educational and psychological wars from within and without to survive. The honest and false narratives of history embodied in this series are primarily personified in patinated colossuses that commemorate the people, culture, and battles that the populations they tower over have fought and continue to fight. We are at war on two fronts."