You may find these photos scary but let me explain you the story behind them.
They are part of a series called Perda do Sentido (Loss of Sense in Portuguese) that I made in 1999.
In 1999 my friend Belquis Ayon an amazing talented, beautiful, outgoing black woman and artist committed suicide.
Belquis was the last person on Earth that I thought would do something like that.
It came as a big shock to me and to all the people who knew her. Her work was unique; she made these large black and white paper collographs with human figures flying away etc. Her work turned around this particular religion practiced in Cuba (Abakua) that carries a secret revealed only to men. Belquis became a researcher of this religion and her work was a recreation of what she learned from it. She was fascinated with the "secret" I think. In her work she created the figure of a fish that represented fears, the unknown and mystery. I remember an interview where she said that fears, unknown things and mystery were like a fish, slippery, because it was hard to keep them under control in your hands.
These photos were my homage to Belquis. I painted my face in black and took some pictures of myself. I just wanted to document my very personal good-bye ritual for my friend. I made the object that you see in the second picture in order to represent the fish that she was obsessed with. I am holding the object with my hands as a symbolic way to embrace all those things that even today I can't explain about what she did and about so many other things in life.
The photo with the fish is in my studio and I like to look at it from my computer. This photo reminds me of Belquis but also it reminds me that half of the things that happen to us and other people are a mystery. I don't want answers anymore for all the things that I can't understand. I just want to be able to embrace them and don't be afraid of them. I don't really want answers anymore but that doesn't stop me for asking questions every single day. I guess that I am just human.