GRANT #341:

Altars: Black Queer Spirit Work

Altars Aren’t Just For Worship: These Pictures Will Tell A Surprising Story of Spiritual Significance

This Awesome Without Borders grantee really sparks our imagination: 70-year-old, New-Orleans based, Nigerian-British, gender nonconforming, educator, activist, writer and photographer whose lens has captured Haitian Vodoun and spiritual practice amongst queer Kenyans. Meet Sokari Ekine.

The visual storyteller describes their current project, “Altars: Black Queer Spirit Work,” as a collaboration with ten “artists, activists, workers, academics, priests and priestesses of the African Diaspora” who will share the significance and making of their personal altars. The artist will explore how black queer subjects engage with spiritual practice and create rituals as a way of formulating meaning; as Sokari puts it, “Self-determining constructions of freedom and resistance through a constant state of reimagining queer realities.”
It’s deep. They’ll talk about the spirit work that allows them to engage with their spiritual ancestors, and to build their strength to resist and persist in the face of racial, transphobic, anti-queer and other violence they experience.

These altars might resemble the traditional altars you’ve seen in places of worship, or they might not. There might be altars to ancestors, a communal pop-up or temporary altar, or something most of us haven’t yet thought of as an altar. We can’t wait to see through this photographer’s eyes.

This AWB grant means Sokari Ekine can get new portrait lighting equipment, and some of that expensive ink the good color printers seem to drink like soda pop.

Do you have a personal altar? If it’s not TOO personal, post it on the socials and tag us!

Check out more of Sokari’s work on her website, and follow along with her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.