Titus Kaphar is a painter and a sculptor who’s work explores Americas relationship with its long history of slavery and racism. Regularly borrowing from historical paintings, Kaphar alters the work in some way, using techniques like shredding, covering, removing and more; Kaphar creates art that exposes history’s hidden narratives.
“I don’t want you to think that this is about eradication. It’s not. We can’t erase this history. It’s real. We have to know it. What I’m trying to do, what I’m trying to show you is how to shift your gaze just slightly, just momentarily. I’m trying to answer that question that my son had. Why do some have to walk?
What is the impact of these kinds of sculptures at museums, of these kinds of paintings on some of our most vulnerable in society, seeing these kinds of depictions of themselves all the time? I want to make paintings, sculptures that are honest, that wrestle with the struggles of our past but speak to the diversity and the advances of our present. And we can’t do that by taking an eraser and getting rid of stuff. That’s just not going to work.
I think that we should do it in the same way the American Constitution works. When we have a situation where we want to change a law in the American Constitution, we don’t erase the other one. Alongside that is an amendment, something that says, this is where we were, but this is where we are right now. I figure, if we can do that, then that will help us understand a little bit about where we’re going.” – Titus Kaphar
– Azraa Motala