Umar Rashid Biography

Umar Rashid, also known as Frohawk Two Feathers, is a Los Angeles-based artist recognised for his paintings, drawings, and sculptures narrating the history of his fictional Frenglish Empire.

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In his references to historical iconographies, art history, and modern and contemporary pop cultures, Rashid explores the historical omission of people of colour from official narratives.


A polymath, Rashid is also known by other names: Hi-Fidel in hip hop and rapping, and Frohawk Two Feathers in art. In his 2021 interview with Juxtapoz, the artist revealed that he feels Umar Rashid to be 'the end man'—the name he has lived with since birth. He attributed his penchant for adopting different personas to growing up in a theatre, with a father who was a playwright.


Rashid graduated with a BA in Cinema and Photography from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois, in 2000.

Umar Rashid Artworks

Umar Rashid's figurative works on paper and canvas—favouring tea-stained paper and acrylic paint—depict detailed tableaus evocative of Egyptian hieroglyphs, Persian miniature paintings, as well as illustrated colonial manuscripts, among others.

Frenglish Empire

Central to Rashid's practice is the Frenglish Empire, a colonial empire born out of a truce between the two historical rivals, France and England. Following its formation in 1648, the Empire competes with other European powers—Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Prussia, Austria, Russia, and the Ottomans—whose relationships Rashid draws from both history and imagination.

Although set in a European empire, Rashid's works concentrate on people of colour whose narratives have often been omitted from official records. Recurring characters create accounts that coalesce into a larger, if invented, narrative of the traditionally marginalised. One such character is Hustle Heraclio, who appears in a Frenglish soldier's uniform after the defeat of their army in Hispaniola in the ink and tea drawing You and me baby and nothing else. (Suite for young lovers) H lvs AL forever., then later in another drawing, The poisoning of Hustle Heraclio in front of his adopted children. An unceremonious end for a great man (both 2018).

The Battle of Malibu

Participating in Made in L.A. 2020: A version, Rashid expanded the contemporary world of the Frenglish Empire by turning to the United States. The triptych Battle of Malibu (In Three Parts) (2020), set in 1795, presents the fictional maritime battle involving the Tongva and Chumash people rendered in the artist's characteristically saturated colours and complex compositions.


Umar Rashid's work has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions, both in commercial galleries and in museums.

Select institutional solo exhibitions including What is the color when black is burned? (The Gold War Part 1), University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tuscan (2018); The Belhaven Republic (A Delta Blues), University of Memphis Galleries A and B, Tennessee (2017); Kill Your Best Ideas: The Battle for New York and Its Lifeline, the Hudson River, Hudson River Museum, New York (2015). In 2021, Blum & Poe Los Angeles presented En Garde / On God, the artist's first solo exhibition with the gallery.

Select group exhibitions include Made in LA 2020: a version; Forever, A Moment: Black Meditations on Time and Space!, SOMA Arts, San Francisco (2019); Here, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (2018); Our Moment Is Here, Zietz MOCCA, Cape Town (2017); Based on a True Story: Duke Riley and Frohawk Two Feathers, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2014); Stranger Than Fiction, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California (2010).


Umar Rashid's website can be found here and his Instagram can be found here.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2021

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