If He Changed My Name, 2016 - present.
If He Changed My Name is a photo-poetic book project juxtaposing intimate black and white analog photographs of Catholic and Protestant churches from Brazil and the US, colorful staged multicultural altars, poetic text, loose translations, and religious handouts to articulate a clash between times, places, cultures, and spiritualities. Based on a North American gospel song entitled I Told Jesus It Would Be All Right If He Changed My Name, this work's title is a direct reference to that song, and more importantly to the colonial dichotomy that mixed spiritual salvation and identity erasure imposed by Catholic and Protestant Churches on enslaved people.
In this work, I use traditional photography documentary aesthetic - 35mm, black and white, grainy (Ilford 400 film), high contrast - in juxtaposition to 35 mm colorful compositions (Kodak Portra 400) with staged altars, where multiple objects from multiple places in Brazil, Latin America, and the U.S. are assembled in a liberating response and transcendence of colonial spiritual violence. The text is written in English, then loosely translated to Yoruba, one of the many languages of African enslaved people brought to the Americas that suffered a direct erasure attempt - as changing names - to reinforce colonial oppression but that nevertheless still beams within the Transamerican African Diaspora. Ultimately, this work articulates visual questions about geographic spaces and spaces of memory, history, spirituality, of light and darkness, colonial oppression, and decolonial liberation.