(Part 1 of this article↓)
What Can Be Think from His Work
Art critic Richard Marshall states, "Basquiat's appeal is that several different themes, including political, social, and racial issues, are latent in his work as letters and symbols."
Instead of directly depicting what he wants to say on the artwork, he uses letters, figures, and other symbols to indirectly scatter the meaning of the artwork in various places.
If you just look at his work, it may look like he is just drawing "something deep."
However, as you look at the work and view the motifs one by one, you can vaguely see what he is trying to say. However, what we can understand from this is fragmentary. It is not possible to completely understand what he is expressing. Each viewer interacts with the work and finds his or her own answers.
Such ambiguity of message is what makes Basquiat's art so interesting.
Basquiat often paints on the theme of skulls. This is one of his most representative works. Painted when he was 20 years old, this is one of his earliest works.
In this work, the focus is on two things: inside and outside. The actual skull, as in this work, is bare of teeth and jaw, with no skin. The nose, eyes, ears, and other parts of the skull that can be perceived "outside" exist "inside" the skull, and the outside and inside are interspersed throughout the painting.
The skull is what represents death. But here, eyes, ears, nose, and hair are also present, as if a strange soul has inhabited the skull.
Looking at the face, we can see its incomplete structure. The head is filled with doodles, abstract lines and diagrams that do not even make sense.
Also, this black skin makes the bright yellow and orange colors stand out. However, what this painting give is some negative emotion, having a sense of weariness and lethargy.
Does this work represent something about society? Is the black skin a statement about racial issues? Basquiat himself did not leave an answer, and the answer is left to each viewer who sees the work.
Irony of Negro Policeman
This work has a prominent message for society. When this work was created, white-dominated America was changing, and African Americans were beginning to hold important positions in society.
As a black man growing up in New York City, Basquiat believed that many people of a similar race viewed oppressive police officers in white society as hostile. He ironically criticized African Americans for wanting to be such police officers.
The dominant male, the black blob that exists in the middle of the canvas, does not looks like a policeman, but something like a child. He looks like a policeman, not a policeman, but something like a child. There are also curves and other drawings that look like children's doodles, which do not give the impression of being authoritative like a police officer.
Also, there are many colors scattered in the hat. Such a depiction is like a clown. Are they expressing that African Americans in a white society are being made to dance by white police officers?
Also noteworthy is the background behind the man. The reason why the background is white may be to contrast the whites with the African Americans. A black police officer surrounded by white. Is this a representation of a black police officer who has become a slave in the white community?
Untitled (History of the Black People)
In the center of the picture, the Egyptian god of the dead, Osiris, is depicted traveling down the Nile River with his boat. Of course, the means of transportation for black people taken by Europeans as slaves at that time was by boat. In those boats, they were treated like objects. It is said that dozens of them were crammed into a small room and most of them lost their lives on the ship.
On the right side of the work, the words "Esclave, Slave, Esclave" are written in cursive over the black man depicted.
Nowadays, racism is taboo and should not exist. However, we should not forget the fact that black people were once treated as slaves.
It is said to represent the historians of the time, who conveniently forgot that fact and tried to distort the tragic history of the past.
Other glimpses into the history of the slave trade and forced labor of slaves on plantations in the United States can also be seen.
How was it?
Basquiat is not only free-spirited and powerful, but his way of life is also artistic and cool. When you watch a film depicting his life, you will naturally become emotionally involved and understand the feelings he put into his works.
The World's Biggest EC Mall for Contemporary Art
Basquiat's influence can be seen in the work of many contemporary artists, and today, you can easily get contemporary art works from around the world online.