Pillars of the Valley
Monument to Mill Creek Valley 

Five years of planning, preparation, and work culminated with the unveiling of the first installment of Pillars of the Valley on February 16, 2023. We were able to honor the elders of Mill Creek Valley and it was one of the most fulfilling moments I have ever experienced. Pillars of the Valley stands as a remembrance of the great people of Mill Creek Valley whose legacy cannot be forgotten, built over, or moved aside. Their collective memories, stories, and contributions to the narrative of St. Louis live on.

This projct was made possible by former residents who helped me shape the work, the STL CITY team who believed in my vision and provided the site, and Great Rivers Greenway & Lamar Johnson Collaborative who supported in helping this project come to life. The monument is also a part of the Brickline Greenway, a plan to create a network of up to 20 miles of greenways, linking up to 17 neighborhoods in the City of St. Louis, connecting Forest Park to the Gateway Arch National Park, Fairground Park to Tower Grove Park and hundreds of destinations in between.

Check out this brief video of me discussing the historic monument, Pillars of the Valley.

The project has received lots of press coverage. Check out some of the articles below:
St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Magazine
The St. Louis American
Riverfront Times
Spectrum News
In the Making
Damon Davis: Apologue for the Darkest Gods

In late 2020, I was featured as one of the creatives in a new documentary short film series In The Making from American Masters and Firelight Media, following eight emerging cultural icons on their journeys to becoming masters of their artistic disciplines. Watch the short here.

Black August

The Ferguson Rebellion archived in Whose Steets? follows in the footsteps a history of black resistances and rebellions which have arose in the month of August, earning the name, Black August. Amongst those--from the Haitian Revolution, the Nat Turner Rebellion, to the March on Washington--the Watts Uprising remains the closest in proximal history to the Crenshaw Dairy Mart of Inglewood.

In conjunction with an online premiere of Whose Streets in August 2020, I curated works of contemporary Black revolutionary artists, Lola Ogbara, Jen Everett, and Adrian Octavius Walker in an online exhibition for Crenshaw Dairy Mart. The exhibition was accompanied by a series of Instagram takeovers by each artist, as well as IG Live interviews viewable on CDM’s IG.

View exhibtion here: www.crenshawdairymart.com/black-august-2020

Crenshaw Dairy Mart streamed Whose Streets? on PBS’s independent documentary program POV from August 7 - 9, 2020.

in the name of strength and protection, in an uncertain and chaotic world, we call to the power of our ancestors and descendants deep within us to combat the forces of tyranny and evil

Let's be real, 2020 was stressful. Altars is a project in response to the intense energies I've felt last year. I wanted to share this augmented reality experience with you all as places to appreciate small joys, to pause for moments of rest or reflection, or to lay burdens down. I hope you use them in whatever ways feel right for you.

Altars consists of three augmented reality (AR) altars, each embodying a specific emotional state–joy, grief, and protection. They are meant to serve as a “virtual conduit” for those feelings, each accompanied by a soundscape and short meditation. I was inspired by altars from cultures all over the world, especially Black and Brown cultures, who have used them to channel energies toward enlightenment, salvation, and loss. Experience Altars for yourself here.

Altars is a WebAR experience produced by RYOT in partnership with All Black Creatives and Huffpost. Read more about the project here


Mallory Nezam, De Nichols, and I, collectively known as MADAD, are part of the 2020 cohort of Monument Lab's Transnational Fellows for our project Black Memory STL: Division, Displacement, and Local Diaspora. Black Memory STL is a multi-year series of public art installations and interventions that stem from community collaborations developed through our partnerships with the Chouteau Greenway development and the Griot Museum of Black History. You can read more about us and the project here.

Monument Lab Fellows are artists, activists, and civic practitioners who critically reimagine monuments in sites and spaces across North America and Germany. Check out all of the amazing 2020 fellows here.

Additionally, Monument Lab 2019 and 2020 Fellows will be featured in Shaping the Past, a multi-site exhibition and book project that addresses pressing issues around what, whom, and how to remember in public spaces.  

Listen to our episode on Monument Lab’s podcast: Monumental “Local Diaspora” in St. Louis with MADAD’s Damon Davis, Mallory Rukhsana Nezam, and De Nichols.

Chain of Rocks is the first-ever fully stop-motion animated feature-length documentary film. It is an intimate story about innocence, doubt, guilt, accountability, and masculinity told through the friendship myself, as a filmmaker and narrator, and a death row inmate, Reggie Clemons.

In the film, I take the point of view as a bystander. The theme of the bystander is one that is central to this story. Reggie says that he was a bystander in the murder of the young women on that night in April. A guilty party none the less in admittance to rape, but a bystander as patriarchial behavior took two bright young lives. Through this lens, I explore how myself and other men, specifically Black men, can find ourselves being bystanders to harmful behavior towards women. 

The motif of "clay" is specific to the nature of how the idea of "truth" shows up in this story. Clay like truth is malleable and is so in the way both Reggie and the justice system use it in this case. Multiple things can be true at once and can change depending on whose perspective is dominant.

This film is a collaboration with Emmy-nominated animation studio, Lumen Anime.

The Stranger is a short film by Damon Davis

A Stranger falls from the sky one day, in search of a castle and a Queen that was shown to him in his dream. In his search, he is taken on a fantastic voyage where he meets magical characters along the way. Will he find his castle and queen, and will they be the same as they were in his dream?

Learn more about The Stranger here.

Sad Panther is an animated music video, the visual counterpart to the song “Sad Panther” from Darker Gods, the accompanying full-length album to my exhibition Darker Gods in the Garden of the Low-Hanging Heavens. It embodies a visual representation of blackness in deity form, following the story of a God that woke up one day to find there existed a power even greater than him. 

A Creation Story is an interpretive dance about the creation of an alternate universe. At its essence, it is The Big Bang, as we watch a Mother (the sun) create her children (the planets) from the void. It is part of my exhibition Darker Gods in the Garden of the Low-Hanging Heavens.

Directed by Damon Davis
Ceorography, Costumes, Props by Audrey Simes
Cinematography by Chris Renteria
Edited by Damon Davis

Light Years is a video for the lead single from my album Darker Gods featuring Tonina. It is part of my Darker Gods body of work. Watch the full video here.

Directed by Damon Davis
Animated by Ryan Frank


Filling In The Cracks is an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. It features Cracks, my series of concrete busts that were first shown at the Grinnell College Museum of Art in 2020. This exhibition is curated by Maceo Keeling, MOCAD Curatorial Fellow, who writes: "Through the use of concrete—emblematic of the hardness of Black life—Davis’ practice suggests that however resilient it may be, masculinity is not without kinks, vulnerability, and abrasion." Several prints from my Darker Gods body of work will also be on view.

Read more on MOCAD’s website here.

Photos courtesy of MOCAD
prox·im·i·ty is an art activation by TRAP HEALS that premiered on January 17, 2020 at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall in Los Angeles in conjunction with the release of the film “Just Mercy”. The installation was part of a local campaign strategy to shift public opinions of incarcerated individuals and increase public engagement around criminal justice policy reforms. Utilizing a greenhouse, technologically refurbished phone booths, and intimate portraits of inmates on death row, TRAP HEALS aimed to create a safe space for viewers of the film to get closer to the words of the silenced and oppressed as well as the words of their loved ones. I contributed large-scale sculptures to the greenhouse installation that symbolized deities and that reflected the nuance and personality of the environment they were placed in.

Cracks is an ongoing series of three-dimensional works that are an investigation of vulnerability, masculinity, grieving, and trauma around loss and pain. I began conceptualizing this series of works after losing my mother, and in the aftermath of several falling-outs with family and friends in the summer of 2019. Initial casts were created as part of my residency at Grinnell College in the fall of 2019. Several pieces were then featured in my exhibition at Grinnell’s Museum of Art, on view Jan 24-May 3, 2020. This body of work was later featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit for Filling In The Cracks between Jun 4-Aug 8, 2021. 

Darker Gods at The Lake of Dreams is the second chapter of my Afro-Surrealist art saga, Darker Gods, a mythical parable that introduces a universe where people of color are Gods. Challenging the devaluing nature of Western representations of Blackness, works in this epic are made through a Black aesthetic for Black people to see ourselves in all of our grace and complexity.

The exhibition opened to the public Friday, June 18, 2021 at Oakland’s leading cultural arts venue, Betti Ono Gallery and runs through August 13th. The exhibition is the culmination of my virtual residency with Betti Ono and is curated by Anyka Barber, Founder/ Director/ Curator of Betti Ono.

The Story Behind Darker Gods at The Lake of Dreams

In this episode of the trilogy, we follow the journey of John Icarus (also known as Black Icarus) the only mortal to ever see The Garden of Low Hanging Heavens where the Darker Gods walk on this plane of reality. Icarus escapes lynching where he was being tarred and feather by flapping and flalling his arms, while having his neck in the nose. Through his sheer will to survive, those feathers bound to his arms and became wings, allowing Icarus to escape the hangman’s noose and find salvation atop a holy mountain, where The Garden of Low Hanging Heavens resides.

While exploring the garden, Icarus stumbles upon a child god, Blake the Great, trapped by chains at the shore of his Lake of Dreams. Blake tells Icarus that a pale horse had come into the sacred garden uninvited and had tricked the child god by offering him the enchanted chains that now held Blake in place, for a chance to drink from The Lake of Dreams. The horse drank from the lake and consumed it down to its last drop, then, leaving the child god in chains, moved on, going throughout the garden, encountering other Gods, tricking and hurting them and their followers, and consuming everything in its path. Blake the Great offers Icarus a wager, if he could find the horse and keep it, retrieve the key to the chains and free the boy god, then Blake would let Icarus go out into the lake and fish out his wildest dream.

Learn more at DarkerGods.com

View exhibition images of the first chapter of the epic, Darker Gods in The Garden of Low Hanging Heavens here.

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 experience 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, ever 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, 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 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 reflects the different aspects of black identity that people have in our community. I also set out to speak about our experience removed from the spectacle of pain that is often associated with Blackness. This work hopefully inspires and empowers thoses 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

Learn more at DarkerGods.com

Photos by Brea McAnally

Ligeia Mare is a science fiction electronic fantasy opera written and composed by myself. It tells the story of Cosmo, an awkward adolescent with a special gift of astral projection while dreaming. After discovering this power, Cosmo’s jazz pianist father, Cassius, falls ill with brain cancer. Due to this ailment, Cassius begins to proclaim that he is actually from Saturn and had forgotten during his crash landing on Earth decades earlier. Amidst all of this, Cosmo’s mother, Joyce, desperately fights to keep her family afloat while dealing with Cassius’ illness and Cosmo’s overactive imagination. Cosmo believes the key to saving his father’s life is somewhere in the stars, he just has to dream his way through them to find it. As Cosmo travels the galaxy night after night, the real world and the dream world begin to blur together. In these nightly excursions, Cosmo finds power in the dream world that escapes him in the real one. Cosmo discovers who he truly is in this dreamland and builds his own myths that turn out to be true. In this way, Ligeia Mare is a story of how myths can be a doorway to self-knowledge and reclaiming one’s identity, and how we can find power in our own self-discovery.

Stay tuned for a podcast version of Ligeia Mare coming next year.
Darker Gods is a conceptual album that accompanies Damon Davis' Darker Gods in The Garden of Low Hanging Heavens interdisciplinary body of work. It is the soundtrack to a dimension of Gods that embody different aspects of Black culture, tropes, and experience. With features from Samora Pinderhughes, Karl Livingston, Tonia Saputo, and Tef Poe, Davis crafts a sonic landscape that welcomes us to a new world of Black Gods and Goddesses. This first run vinyl pressing of Darker Gods is a limited edition 100 piece gold record pressing, signed and numbered. Purchase the album here

Darker Gods: The Album is the sonic element of the first installment to the Darker Gods story. It is meant to be the soundtrack to my solo show Darker Gods in the Garden of The Low-Hanging Heavens. You can purchase and stream the album here.

As with Darker Gods in The Garden of Low-Hanging Heavens, for Darker Gods at The Lake of Dreams, I have created a sonic accompaniemt to the second chapter of my Afro-Surrealist art epic, Darker Gods. Lake of Dreams: The Album features talented artists from St. Louis, including Bloom, The Knuckles, Zado, and Sir Eddie C and also accompanies a musical short film, Light and Water. You can purchase and stream the album here.

Damon Davis is the founder of FarFetched. Farfetched is an independent music and art imprint based out of St. Louis, MO. We specialize in creating thought provoking, honest, and innovative content for all.

For more information on our releases, events, and other news go here.

Graduation is a series of family photos that I began reviewing after the passing of my mother in the summer of 2019. I went through these photos and tried to piece together her life and the family I came from before my birth. I don’t know who many of these people are, which speaks to lineage in many Black families in America for centuries. These pieces speak to breakthrough, life transitions, and constant change. The life cycle of humanity and nature was on my mind while creating these during my residency at Grinnell College in the fall of 2019. Several pieces were then featured in my exhibition at Grinnell’s Museum of Art, on view Jan 24-May 3, 2020.

Created in 2018 during my time at the Indelibl Art Residency in Ghana, my tapestry, Libation, alludes to libations poured to honor Black Africans who have suffered as a result of the slave trade, both those whose families were sold off of the continent, as well as those Africans who participated in and upheld the horrific industry. This gesture can also be read as an attempt of making amends between these two groups and their current descendants across the diaspora. In yet another reading, the pouring of libations represents growth and nurturance for people and conditions that have been deemed unfavorable. In particular, an act meant to symbolize protection and support for Black girls–such as the one illustrated in the mural–and women, in an effort of making amends for a legacy of patriarchal violence.

Libation is currently installed on the facade of the Betti Ono Gallery in Oakland, CA. The mural is paired with my first-ever augmented reality experience, The Libation Tapestry, designed in collaboration with Betti Ono impact producer and creative director Calvin Williams. In the experience, priests–clothed in deep blue and orange patterned Ankara fabric–pour libation upon the soil, seeds, and stone in the center of a memorial floral garden. Like a rose from concrete, a young girl stands stoically facing us, flanked by two of her sister-friends at each side granting her protection. As the libation is poured, portals for the past, present, and future rush open in the backdrop of the floral gardens. The libation gives life and joy to the young girl as she looks about, smiling as her dress illuminates with the same patterned hues of the priest’s ankara.
In Septemeber of 2019, I participated in a month-long residency at Grinnell College. In January 2020, their Museum of Art presented a solo exhibition of the work I created during my stay. Featuring both two and three-dimensional pieces, the exhibition centers around my responses to recent political, social, and personal trauma. The exhibition is on view until March 14, 2020. For updates and programming, check Grinnell's website.

This is the limited edition first pressing show catalog for Darker Gods in The Garden of Low Hanging Heaven. 150 hand numbered books by the artist. You can purchase this catalog here

Negrophilia is a personal body of work about trauma and triumph. It started as a personal meditative and therapeutic tool for me to deal with the constant stress of what was happening in my hometown of St. Louis after the murder of Michael Brown and subsequent uprising. This work became snapshots of the images and feelings I was seeing in person and on social media. The idea of an obsessive, grotesque fascination with Black death that is in American culture. The intrusiveness of looking at Black people dying in real time and the effects on both the oppressor and the oppressed psyche.

"The use of state-sanctioned violence against people of color has historically functioned as a warning that death is a suitable consequence for assumed criminality, suspected or otherwise. With the advent of social media and citizen journalism, visuals of these deaths are immediately available and widely shared. While this documentation often serves to protect the individual at risk during both the incident and the ensuing legal process, its repetition maintains a traumatizing effect, especially on communities of color.

The intrusion of this reality on the psyche of oppressed people is central to Selections from Negrophilia, which features meditative, collaged mixed media works by Damon Davis. On exhibition for the first time, the works challenge a grotesque fascination with black death in American culture. Davis’ instinctual works serve as a therapeutic response to these seemingly endless and intentional acts of violence."