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Image: Offerings, 4x5 tintypes, heated press print pads, Iroko wood cases on an appx. 10.5 x 6.5 inches black velvet cradle. Silhouette of runaway stamp and mythopoetic text Risograph printed on archival paper.

Initiation, solo exhibition

What: Initiation, an immersive installation

Where: Horace Williams House |  610 E Rosemary St, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

When: Now to February 25th 2024

How: By appointment only. Email or


Reception: February 4th 2 pm to 4 pm

Please R.S.V.P by clicking here (not mandatory but helps to prepare accordingly)



Initiation is an immersive installation in which Paula Damasceno transforms the octagonal room in the Horace Williams House into a space to experience the Offerings - a series of twelve diptychs connecting historical photographic methods to ancestry, colonial violence, resilience, and modernity, within Transamerican African Diaspora practices and visualities. Each diptych's case is made of Iroko wood - a tree and a deity through which the Orishas manifest their ancestral divinity. On the right side of each case, is a tintype suggesting the offering of specific food or element dedicated to a particular Orisha. On the left side of each tintype is a cushion lined with press-printed fabric displaying the colors and abstract shapes referring to each Orisha countering the tintype visuality. Each case rests on top of a black velvet cradle commonly used for special collections' objects reflecting an aesthetic investigation of traditional modes of archive display, the poetics and politics of such display, and the aesthetic choices that make such poetics and politics possible. Each diptych has its mythopoetic text with the silhouette of a runaway printed in litany, extracted from a stamp used both in the U.S. and Brazil in the 19th century.


Additionally to the series of diptychs, are three archival pigment prints entitled Surrender, the loose leaves of the artist book in which Initiation is translated into Risograph prints, and found objects of material culture, arranged to create an atemporal and immaterial atmosphere.


Initiation is an invitation to engage with the intangible aspects of history and culture then and now.


This project was supported by the N.C. Arts Council, a Division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, The Arts Council of Winston-Salem, and Forsyth County, and ArtsGreensboro.

Image: U.S. - Unidentified Subjects, 2023-present. 42 x 62 in. - U.S. #1 - photographed performance on bond paper by Paula Damasceno.

U.S. is a performance of litany made privately in a dark space. Beams, blendings, separation, and confluences from the many many revolutions I make on the same point. Each movement affects the light frequencies amplified by the dark space-place of abstract visuality.


DIRTY ABSTRACTIONS, group exhibition


Rough Gems is Union Hall’s annual open call and collaborative curatorial program. Each year we select three teams to showcase a pop-up exhibition in our gallery. Dirty Abstraction is the first exhibition in the 2024 Rough Gems series. With Rough Gems, Union Hall hopes to impact the lives of emerging artists and curators with a platform for exhibition that is inclusive, supportive, and committed to the artists we serve by paying them for exhibitions and performances.


Opening Reception: January 18 from 6 - 8 PM

Curatorial Talk with Jennifer Lord (@juniperlord): January 31 from 6:30 - 7:30 PM

Dirty Abstraction Book Club: February 7 from 6 - 7:30 PM


Where: Union Hall | Located inside The Coloradan.
1750 Wewatta St., Ste 144, Denver CO, 80202


Curated by Jennifer Lord (she/her, they/them)


Jen Wohlner (she/her) 

Claire A. Warden (she/her)

Noah Travis Phillips (he/him, they/them)

Anthony Garcia Sr. (he/him)

Paula Damasceno (she/her, they/them)

Joan Anderson (she/her)

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