By Jasmine Wing
The Brooklyn-based photographer, Zarita Zevallos, has produced a photography series around black male imprisonment and says that her series, Pariah, was born out of personal and shared experience.
‘The series I decide to share with others are experiences and trauma that I have lived through those dearest to me. I was raised in Haiti, although minimal compared to others, I too have tasted injustice, prejudice, lack of basic human rights…my environment forged me and my subjects inspire me; that’s how much I think we connect.’
The Haitian photographer looks into the trauma caused by human cages, drawing links between prisons and slavery. The series expresses the pain and difficulty for Black men attempting to regain their sense of self in a society that does not seek to rehabilitate criminals, only to punish and capitalize on them.
Currently, 1 in every 15 African American men is incarcerated, compared to 1 in 106 white men in the country; 37% of Americans is black, despite black people making up just 10% of the overall population.
“‘Pariah’ seeks to explore… a system that believes eternal punishment and death, just like slavery,” Zevallo explains. “This series exists to express the pain and difficulty to integrate back into a society that rejects ex-prisoners after having been vomited by a system created to welcome them back into a loop self destruction.”
‘By shedding light on what is happening to our brothers and sisters around us, I think my goal is to help those indecisive ones to lean more on the good side of their nature and take small steps towards an equal and sustainable life system’ explained Zarita Zevallos.