Darker Gods is a project that began three years ago when I was interrogating ideas around the black experience in popular culture. I started to think that the representation of Blackness in this country was about devaluing the complexity of our experience to make it easier to dehumanize us. There seems to only be two ways people of color can show up in the collective consciousness historically:,either as sub-human or superhuman, never complex human beings the way 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, like 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 think 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 it reflects the different aspects of black identity that other have in our community. I also set out to speak about our experience removed of the spectacle of pain that is often associate with Blackness. This work hopefully inspires and empowers thoses that view it to see themselves in these deities and that gives them a different way to see the way we are portrayed in the media and popular culture. This is an ongoing story because myths and legends continue to change with the world and time they exist in. The Darker Gods in The Garden of the Low Hanging Heavens is the introduction to a universe where people of color are Gods.

- Damon Davis


Photos by Brea McAnally