M. Lamar

My work exists to re-member and pre-figure the black subject within landscapes of
longing and dehumanization endemic to imperialist white supremacist capitalist
And to mourn… always to mourn…
More specifically, I represent and manifest — by unearthing, archiving, and imagining — visions of black male personhood, embodiment, and subjectivity. Prevailing representations of blackness in U.S. culture offer only narrow historical accounts of subjugation and resistance, and anemic visions of freedom. Central to these are (in bell hooks’s words,) “images of black males in popular culture that represent them as not only eager to ‘do it for daddy’ but, even more, as individuals tortured by… ‘unrequited longing for white male love.’”
In creating spaces of trauma, recovery, and transformation, my work combines video,
sculpture, photography, sound, and performance. My uses of multiple media cross
several genres and styles: horror, romanticism, surrealism, and pornography.
In so doing, I consistently construct emancipated figures standing against the rot and ruin of white supremacy — a devil worshiper in the blues tradition, a deathless avenger, an apocalyptic prophet, a free black man. That man is me. My work — whether in
exhibition, installation, performance, or process — both creates and records my perpetual
fictional and literal becomings… and my becoming free…
Freedom requires a decolonizing exorcism and consorting with the dead. From the slave ship to the pillory… on plantations and lynching trees… within and beyond the prison and the grave… my work binds archive to myth, merging bodily properties with supernatural possessions.
Recent projects fuse performance, animation, and video projections to interrogate the
constant violent sexualized surveillance of black male bodies. My current works in progress draw on the themes of apocalypse, rapture, and judgment in Negro spirituals to envision a future past a revolutionary, revelational reckoning in the face of the persistence of unjust black death. At the level of content, this work connects historic trauma embedded and occluded in our society to contemporary struggles for social justice in Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston, and elsewhere. This work is — as always — mourning, but also — uniquely — morning: a psalm of woe and a call to action.