Charles Searles, Untitled [Boxer]
Although Searles is best known for stylized and colorful abstraction inspired by African art, his earliest works depict the figure in urban contexts. Here a boxer is seated at rest, gazing into the ring. A symbolic figure, he represents all individuals for whom life is a struggle. Searles is remembered to have said on multiple occasions, “Two things you learn when you grow up in Philly: how to dance and how to fight!” Fellow artists such as Dox Thrash, Claude C. F. Clarke, and John T. Harris also explored notions of identity through the form of the male figure.