MICHAEL “BIRDCAP” ROY: ILIUMPTA
Crosstown Arts / 1350 Concourse Ave. February 9 - 29th
Michael “Birdcap” Roy
Iliumpta is a retelling of Homer’s Iliad set in the Southernmost bayous of Mississippi. Named after the county the story takes place in, Iliumpta draws comparisons between masculinity in the American South and the sandaled heroes of yore, often pointing out the weakness in a regional outlook that insists on staying put during hurricanes.
Directly, this work is about Southern fatalism and its effects on masculinity. Fatalism makes an outlook so despairing that stoicism may masquerade as heroism. The men in these works shout from a nihilistic void, and in their attempts to be heroic, they, like the ancients before them, choose death over happiness, a closed ear before sound advice, and doom before an apology.
Michael Roy, a.k.a. Birdcap, grew up near the bayous of Southern Mississippi, a region battered by hurricanes and scarred by a violent history. In the past decade, Birdcap’s career as a muralist has spanned continents, but the artist’s work is a product of the South, both a love letter to the region he calls home and a challenge to its problems.