In my photograph, "Portrait of Pope Innocent," I seek to confront and interrogate a moment in history that starkly illustrates the complex interplay between power, religion, and the nascent stages of the transatlantic slave trade. The image captures a reimagined Pope Innocent VIII, yet overshadowed by the dark, haunting absence of the 100 enslaved people he accepted as gifts in 1488. This moment, a profound betrayal of humanity sanctified by religious authority is frozen in time, challenging the viewer to grapple with the uncomfortable truths of our collective past. Through this work, I aim to peel back the layers of historical narrative that have often obscured the realities of such actions and their long-lasting impacts on the African Diaspora.

This piece is a critique of one man or even one institution and a broader commentary on how power structures have historically manipulated and exploited human lives for political and personal gain. By placing Pope Innocent VIII at the center of this narrative, I draw a direct line to the present, questioning how much has truly changed and how the legacies of such actions continue to shape our world. While rooted in the past, the photograph speaks to the ongoing struggles against systemic injustice and the need for accountability and reconciliation. Through "Portrait of Pope Innocent," I invite a dialogue that transcends time, urging a reflection on the responsibility we share to confront and address the sins of history, ensuring they are neither forgotten nor repeated.