Project details

The Lost Colony Project is informed by my research into Elizabethan colonialism, and is also inspired by the watercolors of John White from the 1580’s, which feature native Algonquins and Secotans (living then in present-day North Carolina) performing rituals, planting crops, preparing food, and displaying their clothing (depicted in the styled mannerism of the time popular in England), as well as the numerous examples of flora and fauna found in the ‘New World’; and also by formal portraits of Queen Elizabeth I and the explorers and voyagers (Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake, etc.) who formed her colonial advisorship. White’s watercolors were an interpretation of native and natural life in the New World for English colonial consumption, paintings of her were aggrandizing her empire and power. Paintings of her that I reference show her in resplendent clothing and with symbolic props, indicative of the sumptuary laws in effect at that time. Between 2009 – 2014, I created an exploratory series of paintings and drawings that lift, excise, and appropriate found figures, objects and clothing forms from historical documents in an effort to articulate the brutal and violent conditions of Elizabethan colonial enterprise, and its impact on closely held American values of peace, democracy, freedom, and redemption.