Darker Gods is a project that began in 2015 when I was interrogating ideas around the Black experience in popular culture. I started to think that the representation of Blackness in the United States and the greater Western world was about devaluing the complexity of our experiences to make it easier to dehumanize us. There seems to only be two ways people of color have shown up historically in the collective consciousness: either as sub-human or superhuman--not ever as complex human beings the way that white-identifying people are allowed to be portrayed. As the project grew and evolved, I decided that instead of working hard to show Black people themselves from an empirical, reality-based model, I wanted to lean it the tropes and cultural norms of our experience by exaggerating them to a place of the supernatural and the surreal.

The cultures of the past, such as Greek, Yoruba, and other polytheistic societies, had multiple gods that reflected the personality and nuance of the world around them. I am obsessed with myth and legend because I believe they are the way people explained the world around them before science was the end all be all of understanding the universe. In this work, I hope to create a mythology that is reflective of my interaction with the world as a Black person in America, and that reflects the different aspects of Black identity that people have in our community. I also seek to speak about our experiences removed from the spectacle of pain that is often associated with Blackness. This work hopefully inspires and empowers those that view it to see themselves in these deities, giving them a different way to see the way we are portrayed in the media and popular culture. This is an ongoing story just as myths and legends continue to change with the world and time they exist in. The Darker Gods in The Garden of Low Hanging Heavens is the introduction to a universe where people of color are divine.

- Damon Davis

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