Return to King's Landing
"Somewhere deep in the west men sweat, As they trek across the sands. Obeying kings manipulating press, purple gore on open veils. Oh Lord. The Shore. The Shore. The Shore. How many stones must turn before my thirst has left. A coup d'etat lies on the horizon." - Al Vieno James
Statement about Return to King’s Landing
Location: King's Landing; Great Jamon || New York City, NY
I created this series in response to my perception of the current state of race relations in America, the wars the United States have caused in the Middle East, ancient wars between the West and the Middle East, the dichotomies between what is considered “valuable” and what is considered “valueless,” and the world’s long history of oppressive and corrupt monarchies and governmental systems.
The content of my work is deeply rooted in my personal experiences with racism, classism, and death. Furthermore, I draw heavily from my second hand experiences with war, which I've sourced from family members, literature, and film.
Books: The Order of Things by Michel Foucault, The Art of War by Sun Tzu, The History of Philosophy in Islam by Dr. T. J. De Boer, Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond, Born to Rebel by Frank J. Sulloway, Good and Evil by Richard Taylor, Peasants, Rebels, Women, and Outcastes: The Underside of Modern Japan by Mikiso Hane, Die Nigger Die! by H. Rap Brown, The World of Shamanism by Roger Walsh, The arts of the South Pacific by Jean Guiart, Truth and Art by Albert Hofstadter, Abraham by Bruce Feiler, The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades edited by Jonathan Riley-Smith, and The Fourth Crusade by Jonathan Phillips.
Documentaries: Sir' no Sir', The Square, Five Broken Cameras, Saudi Arabia Uncovered, Iran is My Home, and The Oil Factor.
Paintings/ Assemblages: To express my ideas, I use materials, techniques, and methods of construction that invite the viewer into my theatrical and fictional world, The Land of the Black Sun. My practice includes the collage of papers and textiles riddled with ornate designs, maps of Africa, America, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, the imprints of ropes within graffiti sprawling, scratchfiti, childlike drawings, gold strings, plastic diamonds, gold frames, silk, and hot glue all composed across reclaimed wooden panels, or on cut and sewn canvas stretched like animal hides between reclaimed wooden beams.
Assemblage Weapons: Weapons created within this series symbolise the Mangah Sifuee (RuLuKole to English trans.: “King’s Guard”), and the belligerents of the fictional war, A Change of Seasons, in part two of the series.
War Stage Maps: Throughout history, geography has decided who is wealthy and full, who is poor and hungry, and who wins wars. Using this as inspiration, I’ve created a small series of battle stage maps to accompany the main body of work. These maps range in size, degree of abstraction, and usage of materials.
Sketchbook: I will be releasing a sketchbook that crosses the language barriers between English and RuLuKole (RuLuKole is the official spoken and written language of the Land of the Black Sun). I see this sketchbook as an opportunity to show readers how my mind processes information. It also doubles as a translation guide, allowing readers the chance to understand a few of the symbols and characters sprawled across my work.
Performance: Performance of Black Gold - Feat. Kaili Smith & Connor Rutowski
I performed a hip hop song that addresses the topics discussed in my work. This song is multilingual, including lines spoken in RuLuKole.