Omari Cato is a painter and street artist who lives and works in Houston Texas. He has exhibited works at Aramination I and Aramination II at Freetown Studios in Lafayette, Louisiana, at LSMSA University, and in 2022's No Artist Statement at Sanman Studios where he holds residency. Cato is a middle school Social Studies teacher, as well as avid BMX and bike enthusiast, all of which deeply influence the projection and subjectivity of his latest series Lil Man.
In the evocative Lil' Man and the Power of Superposition, Houston-based artist Omari Cato investigates the commodification of black bodies and culture. Drawing from a background in painting and street art, Cato skillfully employs a striking palette of red, black, ochre, white, and blue, expertly weaving his visual literacy into a posterized style of imagery that prompts viewers to question the commercial representation of what many box in as experiences of Black life in the Southern United States. At the heart of Lil' Man lies a poignant exploration and dedication to growing up without a father, personified in the life of conceptual yet familiar superhero, Lil' Man inhabits Cato's creative universe. When Lil' Man's father is abruptly deported from Houston to Trinidad, a void is left in the household, thrusting the young boy into the role of man.
In the captivating realm of Lil' Man, Cato delves into the complexities of growing up in an environment consumed by branding and the commercial exploitation of black bodies. His artwork, enriched with expressive brushstrokes, textured elements, and thought-provoking caricatures, exudes social consciousness, urging us to reevaluate our perceptions and embrace fresh perspectives on societal norms. Framed through Lil Man's superhero journey, Cato crafts a compelling universe that resonates deeply with the audience, fostering heightened empathy and inspiring us to rediscover our individual and collective identities beyond material acquisition and ownership.
- Meagan Olivia Ebel