Munroe was born and grew up in the impoverished, stigmatized and often marginalized Grants Town community in Nassau, Bahamas. In 2004, he moved to the United States at the age of 21. His work functions as a reflection of the environment of Munroe’s upbringing, and draws from memory the crude graffiti on the walls that surrounded his street. The artist maps a personal journey of survival and trauma in a world of gang violence, drugs, murder, self-discovery, development and overcoming obstacles through self-determination. Though inspired by the past, Munroe’s loud, energetic and unapologetic visual language confronts contemporary society and the strained and difficult relationships between authority and people of the ghetto.
As well as tapping his own experiences, much of Munroe’s practice comprises research that is informed by critical investigation and theories surrounding mythology and literature. Referencing Joseph Cambell’s ‘The Hero’s Journey’, Elaine Brown’s book ‘The Condemnation of Little B’ and Stanley “Tookie” Williams’ memoir, ‘Blue Rage, Black Redemption’, Munroe explores a number of social stereotypes in order to critique and challenge disparities that cut across gender, race, class, and age.
Though framed in fictional narratives, my work explores and in many ways critiques real life situations that I have either personally experienced or encountered through research. Oftentimes I am reminded of the underlying darkness that reoccurred in childhood fables – in a sense, drawing a parallel to the menacing motifs that occur in my work.
Lavar Munroe b.1982, Nassau Bahamas, works between Germantown MD and Nassau Bahamas. His work will be included in the upcoming ‘Prospect 4’ triennial in New Orleans, directed by Trevor Schoonmaker. In 2015, Munroe exhibited in the 56th Venice Biennale, curated by Okwui Enwezor. In 2016 he participated in the 12th Dakar biennale, curated by Simon Njami. His work has been shown in institutions such as The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, the Orlando Museum of Art, the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, the Nasher Museum of Art, the Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh, the SCAD Museum of Art among others.