This series looks at the history of conquest and colonization in the Americas by redrawing historic images of conquest in the Americas with the figured removed. I removed any images of conquistadors or indigenous peoples, and even Adam and Eve, to invite further consideration of the history and legacies of settler colonialism and their impact on indigenous peoples, cultures, on the land, in thinking about their role in shaping what scholar, Claudia Rankine has termed, the white imaginary.
The work is a creative and critical intervention into the history of art with regard to the depiction of conquest in the 17th and 18th centuries and is informed by a practice I first established with the Erased Lynching series, in which I rephotographed lynching images and postcards but digitally removed the lynching victims and the rope to allow the viewer to focus on the social conditions that made such horrific acts possible in the first place. The presence of absence in these works encourages a critical engagement with history. Thus, if these earlier versions where photographs of photographs, then this series of original drawings,based on historic depictions of the Americas, considers the lingering impact European contact in the Americas.
To redraw or paint what has previously been rendered can be seen as a critical intervention. Particularly since so many of the original works were informed by the history of conquest, racial mixing, miscegenation, slavery, and the related search for natural resources as an extensions of conquest.
In redrawing the works of other artists. I wish to explore the physical process of drawing images that speak to another time, and contributed to the events which followed.
To make art is normally seen as an act of creation to be celebrated, but what is the lasting impact of a work, not only on viewers and historians, but to those who continue to be misrepresent in the press and the media as intruders, immigrants, speaks to the power of these historical narratives.