Offerings, tintype, heated press print, Iroko wood on black velvet support pillow. 2018 - present.
Offerings is a work that establishes intimate relationships between the tintype as colonial photographic method, and post-colonial Western African culture in the context of contemporary Transamerican African Diaspora.
Violently displaced from their land by the the Atlantic slave trade, Yorubas, Jejes, Nagos, Ketus, among other communities, brought with themselves their traditions to the Americas. Although carrying significant diferences according to where they came from and where they were placed at, the worship of the Orisas remains as a common trait across the Americas. The Orisas thus became a reference for survival and later thrive in colonial and post colonial systems. To the Orisas people offer the right food, use the right colors, and preciously take care of these entities - the ancestors who became divines.
I decided then to use the historical photographic process to reclaim the 19th century medium that once made part of the colonialist visual code, to produce precious objects where the Western African culture is at its center.
Each piece refers to an Orisa of Western African culture. In each tintype, I portray myself offering a specific food designated to a specific Orisa. The fabric prints that accompany each tintype are the colors assigned to each Orisa and an abstract drawing referring to each tool assigned to each Orisa. The cases are made of Iroko wood, a tree from Western Africa worshiped as the Orisa of ancestrality. The cases are placed on top of a black velvet support usually found in especial collections to display rare pieces.
Offerings adds to the dialogue previously established by artist like Rubem Valetim, whose constructivist work was based in African patterns and traditions, and Mario Cravo Neto, whose photographic work Laróyè, 2000, searched to create visual transcendence for the subject of African Brazilian religiosity.
The title refers both to the very act of offering the food to the Orisas and to a the broader possibility: the Western African culture as an offering form the African continent to the Americas. A gift not yet fully comprehended, accepted and availed.