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Lavar Munroe (Bahamian, b. 1982)

Initiation (2014)

Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas

In his vibrant paintings, drawings, and installations, Lavar Munroe examines his personal narrative that traverses his upbringing in Grants Town community in Nassau, Bahamas. His evocative works reflect his interest in religion, death, fatherhood, protection, belonging versus exclusion, and notions of good and evil. The works mix images from various sources that recall his childhood, which was marred by an unfortunate series of incidents that involved gang violence, drug use, and assault.

In Initiation, a mysterious set of fantastical images are combined to produce a visually arresting composition, ranging from birthday hats, partially rendered cows, a crying face, and dollar signs. These images are placed on top of each other with no clear spatial logic, so that the figures freely flow from one end to the next within the composition and create an overwhelming visual experience for the spectator. The use of red that dominates the canvas recalls the color of blood, contextualizing the painting within Munroe’s broader practice that engages with his personal trauma.