Infinite Essence is my exploration of the connections between the black body, the cosmos, universe and the eternal in the face of a world that works to annihilate the black body every single day.

Through this series I meditate on this balance between the real and surreal. Between what we think we know and who we actually are. There is so much more to us than meets the eye, and it transcends dimensions, space and time.

In 2014, I was deeply rocked by the murder of Mike Brown and the viral image of his dead body that was spread against the wishes of his family. 

Over the next three years, the media formula of publicly sharing images and videos of dead and dying black (and brown) bodies for clicks, likes, comments and ultimately - revenue - became so vapidly apparent to me. Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Philando Castile. Images of starving and dying Africans. The pervasive trope of the black body as a site of death, destruction and abuse was and is everywhere. And completely strips us of agency and life.

On the other hand, these media images stood in direct contrast with what I saw in my friends and family and my community of black people around me. Love, joy, and ultimately - magic.

I do not see black bodies as 1 dimensional sites of violence and pain. I see us as bright, vibrant, exuberant, beautiful and more. After years of enduring and working to block out the brutal videos of dying black people constantly on my newsfeed, I decided to map out with my photography my own response and vision of what an emancipated black body looks like. The love and magic that I saw in the people all around me. After months of planning and conceptualization, that birthed this project - Infinite Essence

My vision is one in which black people are and always have been free within ourselves. And I work to capture my sense of our magic in a way that transcends the death and destruction that is visited upon us here.

The origin of the series's name comes from a quote by Chinua Achebe discussing Odinani (traditional Igbo spirituality) and the concept of "chi." In his exploration of "chi" and seeking to define it for a contemporary audience - Achebe found more questions than answers. But in his exploration, one line in particular stood out:

"Or is chi an infinitesimal manifestation of Chukwu’s infinite essence given to each of us separately and uniquely, a single ray from the sun’s boundless radiance?"

Similarly, I have started this series with more questions than answers. But with each click of my camera working to decipher a bit more of the puzzle of the eternal blessings we have as black people being manifestations of something far greater than ourselves and physical beings.


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