Behind Camila Falques Show “The Gods Who Walk Among Us”

Lua Arroyo (he/she), 2021.
Photo: Camila Falques

Camila Falques has a talent: She can see gods everywhere, she told me, “and they’re usually ignored.” So it’s fitting that the 32-year-old New York-based photographer is the new photographer Gallery Presentation titled “The Gods Who Walk Among Us” Although she did not come up with this phrase herself. The words found her while walking the streets of New York City. When she read the phrase on the corner of the Bushwick mural of two Aboriginal people, a shiver went through her body. “I’m like, Oh, wow, that’s what I doShe told me via Zoom during a short trip to Mexico City. “It’s very clear to me when I’m in front of gods and queens.”

This sacred delicacy supports Operation Valkes. if her Threads They are their priestess deities. If they are royals, she says, she is their maid. The 28 images that make up “The Gods Who Walk Among Us”, which will open on June 2 at Hana Traore Gallery On the Lower East Side, he engaged in ceremonial extravagance. The images evoke Greco-Roman statues, court images, religious art, and folk shrines. But rather than gods, martyrs, or aristocrats, the subjects of the Valkyries are a group of cross-generational activists, queens, performers, and entertainers. Many immigrants. Most of them are black and brown. The majority are LGBTQ+. Her images derive from centuries of visual motifs to re-imagine their bodies that could have been the vessels of the gods. “These people walk among us, and we hope that helps people realize that the strength may lie elsewhere,” Falkes explains.

Trial: Jose Hart (she/it), Bobby Minoese (they/they), and Basset Kom (they/they), 2022.
Photo: Camila Falques

While Falquez’s choice of subjects is a violation, her visual vocabulary plays on the vernacular of Western art canon. Born in Mexico City to Colombian parents, they immigrated to Spain when she was a little girl. Falkes spent her days in her mother’s painting studio and danced salsa after dinner with her father. Her parents were determined to take advantage of Europe’s cultural offerings. “As a Colombian, when you get to Europe, the idea that you could drive safely and within hours change countries and cultures was amazing for my family,” she recalls. We’d drive to Milan, Venice, Naples, Paris, Munich and Brussels, going to all the museums you could imagine. Then, she laughs, “I get how bad this is.” As European art shapes her visual vocabulary, she notes that her experience as an immigrant, first in Spain and then in New York, shaped her outlook. Look around you Because the woman who washes your clothes may actually be a queen and you don’t know.”

Natalia Mendez from La Morada (he/she), 2021.
Photo: Camila Falques

Bearing their bodies in bold silhouettes against the bright walls, Falques subjects often look at the viewer with a determined, calm gaze. Designer and human rights activist Quinn Jean Saffron is dressed in Buddhist monks’ robes under a rolled-up piece of cloth. Chef Natalia Mendes The Bronx La Morada restaurant Balances a shiny hood of pots on its head. performers Jose HartAnd the Bobby MinoeseAnd the kom basset Ballet strokes form amidst sculptural clouds of white canvas. Bold colors signify a joyful challenge; The dignity of the models is tainted by resistance.

Each image appears meticulously rendered, the result of an elaborate staging process. “I’m a photographer, but that’s just part of it. I’m not someone who walks around with a camera on,” Valkes explains. “My process is to find people, create a group, and create the universe. It is almost like performance. Taking the picture is a small part of that.” She recently started renting out her own photo studio in Ridgewood called Studio Delicia. Before each photoshoot, she covers it with a piece of cloth she paints herself. Falques describes the pre-production process as a “ritual”: she visits Home Depot for research. About new paint colors. She rides her bike to the Flower District and fills her baskets with flowers. She’s shopping for chairs at the nearby thrift store. “Literally, my life carries things,” she jokes about the props-gathering process. “Then I called my friend the Colombian chef who brought out a plate Big rice, and I went to the Colombian bakery.” On the day of filming, she was playing bellero and salsa. “The studio came alive,” she says. “It’s almost like an exaggerated act of extreme care, like Welcome to my home. You are safe. I am here. We will create endless things. “

Tonita (she / she), 2021.
Photo: Camila Falques

The show is backed by a community welfare policy that merged with Falquis in 2020. The year saw both a personal and a creative account. “Covid, protests, pride – everything was a chain to finding your place in the world,” she recalls. “I finally really called New York.” Selfie subjects include community leaders who have led mutual aid efforts during the pandemic lockdown: Mendez “feed the whole Bronx” during the COVID-19 lockdown, Falques recalls; Queen Jan I started a new chapter in her advocacy.

While most of the photos in “Gods That Walk Among Us” have appeared elsewhere, Camila is pretty excited about one of the two never-before-seen photos taken especially for the exhibition: a group photo of 13 transgender and non-binary people titled the family. You see the picture, a sprawling palette that evokes Last Supper, as the centerpiece of the series. In the gallery as much as Camila insists in her creative process, on focusing the subjects rather than composing them. “It’s our show, and I bring all these people with me. I’m just a very humble little worker for this royal family,” she says. “I don’t intend to be the center. I work for people.”

Scroll below to see more photos from the show.

Sherry Poppins and Christ the Galilee (she/she), 2021.
Photo: Camila Falques

Teresa Carolina (he/she), 2021.
Photo: Camila Falques

Veneta Maruri (they / they), 2020.
Photo: Camila Falques

Rossi de Palma (she/she)2019.
Photo: Camila Falques

Jeff Hoffa (they / she / she / he), 2021.
Photo: Camila Falques

Qween Mother Dowoti (she/she), 2021.
Photo: Camila Falques

Queen Jean (he/she)2022.
Photo: Camila Falques

Compañia Manuel Liñan, 2020.
Photo: Camila Falques

Liz Vanette (he/she), 2021.
Photo: Camila Falques

Issa Nosh (she/she), 2021.
Photo: Camila Falques

Evelyn Alvarez (he / she), 2021.
Photo: Camila Falques

Lady Quesadia (he/she), 2021.
Photo: Camila Falques

Diego Barnes (he/she), 2021.
Photo: Camila Falques

porsha (she / she), 2021.
Photo: Camila Falques

Arthur Bramandtam (he/she), 2021.
Photo: Camila Falques

Miss Patsy’s Rejection (He/She), 2021.
Photo: Camila Falques