Interdisciplinary artist Lavar Munroe’s (b. 1982, Nassau, Bahamas) work encompasses painting, drawing, sculpture, and installation art, creating hybrid forms that straddle the line between sculpture and painting. His most recent series, The Redbones, explores global political strife and societal ills including: income disparity, war and racism. Based on photo-documents and artifacts collected over four years in Senegal, Munroe created the fictitious Redbones, a group of child-soldiers placed on the frontlines of war by the wealthy elite. The series follows these boys as they seek heroism and freedom amidst poverty and violence, referencing Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth (The Hero’s Journey). These cultural works challenge narratives around survival, loss and trauma. They balance real life issues within a fictional setting. This series also explores and critiques structures in society such as juvenile detention units, prisons, fraternities and school yards. Important to this series is the role of the uniforms. For Munroe, who grew up in the Bahamas under a British system of governance and education, uniforms continue to be prevalent, to both distinguish and condemn individuals and groupings in various segments of society. He sees this as problematic, as it alludes to, and promotes constant servitude which is indicative of the colonial past.
Munroe’s work is currently featured in Shifting Gaze: a reconstruction of the Black and Hispanic body in Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. He was recently featured in Harpers Magazine as well as in The Other Side of Now: Foresight in Contemporary Caribbean Art at the Perez Art Museum, Miami, Get Up, Stand Up Now at the Somerset House, London, UK and Coffee, Rhum, Sugar, Gold: A Postcolonial Paradox, curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah and Dexter Wimberly at the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco. Munroe was a participant in Okwui Enwezor’s 56th Venice Biennale and Trevor Schoonmaker’s Prospect.4. He recently had a Ten-Year Survey at the National Gallery of the Bahamas, which was accompanied by a monograph, Lavar Munroe: Son of the Soil, as well as a solo exhibition at the Meadows Art Museum in Shreveport, LA, Devil in the White City. His works are in the Estate of Peggy Cooper Cafritz and are featured in Fired Up! Ready to Go! Munroe has a MFA from Washington University, St. Louis, a BA from Savannah College of Art and Design, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He is currently an artist in residence at the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL; completed a residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts, Marin County, CA; is a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painting and Sculpture Grant awardee; and completed the Fountainhead Residency (Miami, FL). He lives and works in Maryland and the Bahamas.