After returning from years of war coverage, Peter van Agtmael tries to piece together the memory, identity, race, class, and family, in a landscape which has become as surreal as the war he left behind.
A talented writer and artist during his lifetime, Frank Walter was an eccentric character now considered to be vastly under-recognized. Intellectually brilliant, Walter entertained delusions of aristocratic grandeur, namely the belief that the white slave-owners in his family linked him to the noble houses of Europe. The self-styled “7th Prince of the West Indies, Lord of Follies and the Ding-a-Ding Nook” produced paintings that dealt with race, class, and social identity, as well as abstract explorations of nuclear energy, portraits both real and imagined – including Hitler playing cricket and Prince Charles and Princess Diana as Adam and Eve – and miniature landscapes of Scotland, the country that he fell in love with during a visit in the 1950s or ’60s. Walter typically painted in oil on rudimentary materials, with a marked immediacy and naivety. The first man of color to manage an Antiguan sugar plantation, Walter spent the last 25 years of his life in an isolated shack in Antigua, surrounded by his writings, paintings, and carvings.