Lilly Manycolors is an interdisciplinary self-taught artist specializing in painting, sculpture and performance art. Manycolors’ works draw heavily on her life experiences, and her artistic journey has been unconventional in that she has not attended schooling for any of the art forms she practices. Rather, her learning has been guided by “non-human” and rooted in her cultural and spiritual traditions. The visual pieces Manycolors creates are deeply personal, lending her own stories to the canvas as ways of building intimacy and bonds between herself and viewers. As a mixed-raced single mother, Manycolors makes works that pull and tug on the confines of colonial identity politics. Her performance pieces are intense and demanding of the audience in that their required participation with her erodes away colonial notions of consuming Manycolors and her art. Manycolors utilizes her artistic practices to research topics such as race and gender violence, eco-aquacide, Indigenous liberation and sovereignty, and what it means to be human. Often her works are responding to questions such as “Where is my place as a mixed-raced/culturally dislocated person? How can I exist in a good way when I am the product of colonial violence? What is humanness outside of colonial-western notions?” Her current works are focused on inter-relationality between humans, non-humans and what awaits us beyond colonization and decolonization with a centering of land and Indigenous community sovereignty.
Manycolors earned her BA at Goddard College with a focus on decolonization and psychology. Her BA thesis was a seven-piece, large-scale painting series accompanied by a 60-page written work that investigated the systems of colonial conditioning within the arenas of child rearing and trauma integration. Manycolors received her MA from RISD in the Global Arts and Cultures department where she produced a 107-page thesis titled Colonial Mapping, Heteropatriarchy and the Remaking of the World, which was accompanied by a large-scale, mixed-media painting that speaks to sympoietic mapping practices.