My vision and intent: I am interested in expanding Black Queer narratives and visions of futurity in the context of a “Persistence of Blackness”: self-determining constructions of freedom, ritual, and resistance in a constant state of reimagining queer realities.
Conceptual and documentary photo essays:
Spirit Desire is a series of photographic essays that explore African Diasporic spiritual practices and those in-between spaces, above and below, visible and invisible that constitute the many worlds that exist in harmony.
Spirit Desire: – Resistance, Imagination and Sacred Memories in Haitian Vodoun”[Memwa sakre: – lespri ki nan nou menm. Sacred memories: -The spirits within us ] is the first in the series and is a celebration of Haitian Vodoun as a site of resistance, decolonization and community. The series which includes images of everyday living, ritual and ceremony, aims to shift the gaze from representations that depict Vodoun as negative and present a decolonizing narrative: one in which Vodouisants engage with a consciousness and spirituality that celebrates our humanity rather than focusing on a set of prescribed normative identities.
Exploring the dance, song, possession, drumming, aesthetics and ritual of Vodoun through photography allows me to express the freedom of an unbound imagination that recognizes the power of the self and the spirit within us as a multidimensional force which stretches far into the past and into the future.
In “Spirit Desire: The Vernacular of Freedom, and the Politics of Rescue in Queer Futures” my collaborator, Laura Wangari, and I contemplate the centrality of spiritual practice for queer people of African heritage. We spent three weeks with each other and with friends and fellow travelers, talking, chewing, drinking, laughing, dancing, cooking, and eating our way to understanding who we were, who we are, the contradictions in these spaces and times, and our spiritual selves. We see our many spiritual practices as acts of decolonization – ‘freedom narratives’.
Queer Like Fearlessness: The Transformation of Silence into Action: through speech, words, images or performance. The photographed are those who speak truth to power, and for whom being Queer Black African Feminists is a way of life and a way of resistance.
2019 Projects in progress
As a way of exploring queerness and it’s relationship to spirituality and ritual practices and building on previous work, “Altars: Black Queer Spirit Work” will explore how we as black queer subjects engage with spiritual practice and create rituals as a way of formulating meaning; self-determining constructions of freedom and resistance through a constant state of reimagining queer realities.
Signs of God is a series of digital collages in which I articulate the complicity of Christianity in the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and the subsequent religious colonization by various sects of the Christian church that continues on the continent today. The images used in the creative process are from my own visual archive including most recently photographs made in Ghana and New Orleans.
Yabo Figuratively Speaking, presents a visual interpretation of the novel Yabo by Alexis De Veaux [2014, Redbone Press]
Film : “Shhh Shhh Shhh,Shhh, Papa Legba Rele Lwa” . a collaboration with DJ Afifa [Jamaica] Through the medium of art, artist DJ Afifa and photographer, Sokari Ekine, create a collaborative experimental film using sound and photographic stills.
The collaboration is inspired by the work of Ekine on African Diasporic Spiritual Practices: “Spirit Desire: Resistance, Imagination and Sacred Memories in Haitian Vodoun” . Spirit Desire is a celebration of Haitian Vodoun as a site of resistance, decolonization and community. Using Ekine’s photographs, DJ Afifa creates a sonic interpretation which reactivates the stills, bringing us into a deeper experience of the visuals.
Our intent is that as an experimental film focusing on African Spiritual Diasporic practice, we will encourage multiple conversations: such as how we use African spirituality to understand everyday social and political realities in the Caribbean.