Sokari Ekine is a Queer Nigerian British Feminist, diasporic nomad, visual scholar and activist, writer, educator seeking out new possibilities and ways of being beyond the normative and hegemony of whiteness and native informers.
I began Black Looks: 2 in June 2014 after moving on from Black Looks: 1 that ran from June 2004-2014 and which includes a 10 year archive of LGBTIQ Africa and other writings on African related issues. With Black Looks: 2 I wanted to change the focus of my scholarship from writing to the visual.
I started this blog in May 2014 as a way of documenting my personal journey and scholarship towards African Diaspora Spiritual Practices which had begun during extended periods in Haiti working as a writer, teacher and advocate. In 2013 I undertook the ceremony of “Lave Tet”, a three day isolation engagement with the Lwa that includes a spiritual cleansing, and identifying my ‘Lwa met tet’ [the one or more Lwa that walk with me] and confirm myself as a Vodouizan or sèvitè Ginen. It is through my interaction as a sèvitè [one that serves the Lwa] that I came to see photography as a way of creating something beautiful through my personal experience and understanding of Haitian Vodoun.
My life in Haiti has been a gift that I hold close to my heart, even though most of the time it required great daily struggle to accomplish. Between 2011 and 2016, I spent three to four months a year in Haiti working on various projects associated with SOPUDEP Community and the IDP Camp Acra. .
The gift of Haiti was made possible by a number of people some still with us, some who have passed on. I mention them here: The family at Penier, Rea Dol and Bato who have taken care of me as a member of their family since 2007; Elie Jean-Louis, dedicated activist and visionary who passed away suddenly in July 2015. My brother and comrade, Serge Supre, without whom none of this would have been possible, and who passed away in February 2016; Rony Desire, my son who forced me to speak Kreole and with whom I traveled far and wide across this beautiful country; my teachers: Godmother, Manbo Gina Baptiste of Tamp Simbi in Port-au-Prince, and Dorsanvile Estime, the Sèvitè of Lakou Badjo. Together they taught me the Haitian way of Living through Vodoun as an every day living, breathing experience. I would also like to mention, the late Dr Margaret Armand, for her belief and support of my work and for giving me another perspective on Haitian Vodoun. Finally I cannot leave this space without acknowledging the “Lwa met tet” whose presence gives me much joy and peace.
Tech stuff – yes I use tech. I was given my first computer in 1985, an Osborne, pre Windows, pre PC/Mac which operated on DOS. I remember this cumbersome hunk only vaguely but with fond memories probably more to do with the time than the object itself.
My cameras: Olympus Pen EPL3 + various lens. I love this camera as it is small and lightweight and one I need to use more often; last year I upgraded my Nikon from a Nikon D 7200 to a full frame Nikon D750 FX . I work with three lens: 24-120, 50mm portrait lens, my favorite everyday 35mm lens. I also have a Lomography Petzval 85mm art lens. This is a manual focus lens and has a manual Waterhouse aperture system which is pretty cool but the lens is way to heavy for everyday use. I use it only for tripod portraiture.
My computer: A 15inch refurbished MacBook Pro purchased in 2015 after her older mate was water damaged. This is really insufficient for working with images and I occasionally dream of having an iMac and Pen Tablet.
Software: Photoshop for Adobe Camera Raw and as I love B&W I use Google Nik for most of my processing. I use these to enhance images only and I try to do as little editing work as possible and for portraits I don’t remove facial blemishes etc; Evernote for documenting everything, Mac’s Photo and various external drives for saving and backup of images.
Mobile: Samsung J7
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Photography:- Haitian Vodou: A Visual Narrative
Show some love as in ” “When we invest in each other’s art forms, each other’s dreams, we invest in a right relationship to love” Alexis De Veaux. VIA paypal/sekine Thank You