10/27/03 is a body of work that explores religious indoctrination, familial legacy, and identity concerning my spiritual and mental development within the confines of a religious upbringing. Inspired by W.E.B. Du Bois' analysis of the Black American experience and his questioning of what it means to be Black and American, I seek to use his analysis as a framework for my personal investigations. With this body of work, my question is focused on who gets to constitute the spiritual value of a Black individual and whether that spiritual value can co-exist within environments of divisiveness and trauma.
Informed by my experiences as a child being raised in the Apostolic Christian church, 10/27/03 is a visual interpretation of an inner dialogue about my religious childhood experiences and how they conflict with an understanding of self. The title, 10/27/03 is a date taken from a certificate I received as a child after being baptized, given a “spiritual birthday”, and then being declared that I was given a “new birth experience.” I use this date as a metaphor for both a beginning and an end — to a child’s innocuous understanding of life as they know it and the beginning of a “spiritual rebirth”. I’m seeking to investigate how growing up with stringent belief systems has contributed to the body and mind.
Through the use of visual metaphors and allegorical portraiture, my work reinterprets and appropriates religious iconography and symbolism, rearranging these symbols to further pose questions and create an alternative spiritual experience. This series was shot on medium format black-and-white film in various locations (churches, body of water, etc), each representing significant markers of a spiritual journey.