’40 Views of Colonial Fabric Softener’ by Umar Rashid
“40 Views of Colonial Fabric Softener is a series of drawings created in early 2019 that references the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the early 19th Century. I remixed the traditional, historical narrative and changed the characters to fit my vast, reimagined, global history of colonialism, focusing this time, on the westward expansion of what is currently known as the United States and the subsequent conflict with the Native American societies east of the Mississippi River. The title is taken from a series of woodblock prints by the Japanese artist, Katsushika Hokusai and his well known work, Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji.” Umar Rashid
Umar Rashid (Frohawk Two Feathers) was born in Chicago in 1976, lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. In 2003 Umar Rashid began to write and illustrate the history of the Frenglish Empire 1648- 1880 (a portmanteau of France and England) based on the supposition that the historically antagonistic empires of France and England made a tenuous peace and unified into a single, gargantuan, colonial empire. The Frenglish Empire ruled over a large swath of the planet, often challenged by the historical, traditional empires of Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Prussia, Austria (and client states of the Holy Roman Empire), Russia, and the Ottomans. However, the main focus of his work is the stories and reinvented histories of people of color, who are oftentimes marginalized and omitted from the historical record, and the intricacies of race, gender, class, and overall power in the colonial world. In the process of writing and illustrating this history, Rashid has created alternative narratives that reference the traditional historical narrative and focuses on the cosmologies of the empires, with a focus on religion and spirituality. The work employs iconography as a place marker between past, present, and future. The narrative is also massively informed by the hip hop culture of Umar Rashid’s youth (golden age), various (modern and ancient) pop culture references, gang and prison culture, and revolutionary movements throughout time.