Mensaje Para Escribiente / Message for a Scribe, 2016, Single channel video (color, sound), 4:17mins

 

Can acts of spiritual piety help transcend colonization’s dehumanizing attacks on the black female body? Who has access to freely record and move about the earth? Using excerpts from Teresa Chikaba’s hagiography Compendio de la Vida Ejemplar de la Venerable Madre Sor Teresa Juliana de Santo Domingo (1752), and George Shaw’s The Black Girl in Search of God (1932), consecutively, I point to the issue of agency. With literacy strictly prohibited for slaves of the Spanish empire, it is unlikely that Chikaba wrote her own journal which is cited as a main source for her hagiography; and Shaw, a white British man, writes a novel from the perspective of an African woman. These two stories meet at a crossroads with webcam portraits, and self made nature-esque documentaries made in the confines of my home.