The art of Shabazz Larkin speaks with an American voice that is rarely heard. The narratives told by BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) artists that are most often seen are those that showcase the deepest of suffering or weight of generational injustice. These stories need to be told and Larkin does tell them, but he also speaks to the joy and pride of an unstoppable segment of this nation’s population and their place in the bloodline of American history.
Larkin’s paintings show their brushmarks, the bristled streaks laid down with confidence. The colors hit you physically. Larkin wants you to look his figures in the eye. Their skin may be dark and Larkin paints them as such, but he will show you the details rendered in clean lines to make the emotion clear. Nothing is hidden. Larkin wants you to understand the lives of his subjects. Their tenacity and complexities, the magic contained within each face.