"Divinity": The birth of #thedivinityproject
These portraits were taken in the courtyard of Austin's beloved Cheer Up Charlie's. Based on my personal experiences with learning to embrace (rather than avoid) the sun, the backdrop was hand-painted by Rex Hamilton, who named the piece "Divinity". Rex and I designed the backdrop to celebrate the natural darkening of skin that happens when many folks are exposed to the sun.
"Divinity" debuted at local non-profit Brown State of Mind August 2018 event, "The Green Room". I set up the backdrop, paired with a stool draped in red fabric and installed studio lighting in the area - creating a pop-up photo studio, inviting event attendees to "step into the light", take up space and participate in creating portraits that defied the dehumanization and demonization of communities historically and regularly mistreated and shamed for their darker skin tone.
The Divinity Project
This mission to create images where marginalized individuals are portrayed as divine has since expanded to a movement: The Divinity Project.
Today, artists are invited to tag their work with #thedivinityproject if the subject matter challenges the demonization or dehumanization of a marginalized person or community. The project is about inspiring people all over the world to take up space, love themselves, and celebrate the fight against colorism, rasicm, sexism and other forms of oppression.
Date: August 3, 2018
Location: Cheer Up Charlie's. Austin, Texas. USA
Collaborators: Rex Hamilton (Backdrop), Isra Sharnez (Photos and Production), Brown State of Mind (Event Production)