Barron Claibourne Illuminatos Santos Negros

Santos Negros Illuminados translated as The Luminous Black Saints. One of the first and only solo presentations of artist/photographer Barron Claiborne. Barron’s use of fashion, celebrity, and African spirituality juxtaposed with western idolatry provide a poignant contrast. This show was curated as a response and contrast to The Metropolitan Museum’s exhibit called The Catholic Imagination.

The Illuminados Santos Negros, The Luminous Black Saint exhibition was made accessible in a way most art shows are not, focusing on merch, t-shirts, buttons, candles, and “church” fans with a limited edition catalog available to the public at under $100.00. The image feature here is from that catalog.

Religious candles and talismans inspired the merchandise. Found in Botanicas (spiritual/religious supply stores) in New York African American and Hispanic neighborhoods.

This exhibition featured a new interpretation of Notorious B.I.G. as the (K.O.N.Y.) as Saint Christopher; this piece was designed to replicate laminated religious cards with a Saint Christopher Pin replacing the traditional medal.

I created the concept in collaboration with Dina Helel of The Whitney Museum and others, curating writing, publishing the catalog, designing, and producing the merchandise.

Barron Claiborne has produced a significant body of work beyond the K.O.N.Y image for which he is credited. My goal was for the audience to appreciate the layers and depth of this talented artist’s work.