Se te subió el santo? (Are you in a trance?), 2016
While in residence at the Center for Afrofuturist Studies for a week in May 2016, I took a series of daily self-portraits every morning before I headed to my studio near the University of Iowa campus. My intention was to render a self portrait that presented a full self, implicit of my gender, race, sexuality, and spirituality while collapsing and challenging each identity as well.
The title of the work is taken from Ana Mendieta, the Iowa Years: A critical study, 1969 through 1977 where Julia Ann Herzberg writes in the dissertation; Ana and Raquelin Mendieta’s vocabulary contained many Afro-Cuban idiomatic expressions. For example, they would often respond to a friend who was acting in an unruly or hyperactive manner by asking” “Se te subió el santo? (“Are you in a trance?”) In the Afro-Cuban context, the expression “surbise el santo” is used in religious ceremony when the orisha/saint takes possession of the believer.