Penitents: World End Rituals of Faith

Museo de las Americas

June 22 - September 16, 2017

  • Opening reception: Thursday, June 22 from 6 - 9 pm
“Penitents: World End Rituals of Faith” will include the illuminating photographic
portfolio of Guy Veloso as part of the 2017 Biennial of the Americas

Guy Veloso’s images capture a moment in time where faith, consciousness, and cuerpo become one through ritual. The photographic documentation of the rituals disrupts our contemporary urban reality, summoning another more ancient reality to action, at the world’s end. As we experience Veloso’s reality, we become penitents albeit from different hemispheres. - Maruca Salazar, Curator

Museo de las Americas
861 Santa Fe Drive
Denver, CO 80204


“Penitents,” also known as “Soul Feeders,” or “Brothers of Soul” are secret secular groups that during certain times of the year, go out into the night to pray for the “suffering spirits,” usually covering their faces with shrouds or hoods, and in some dramatic cases, practicing self-flagellation.

Alongside the Photographs are a collection of original objects that Veloso has received from the Decurion/ Mayordomos, which is the name given to the heads of the “Orden do Noreste.” Among them are mantles, clappers, discipliners, amulets, letters, necklaces, statues that belonged to the Brotherhood of Penitentes in Brazil.

Veloso’s recurring theme in his work is the topic of religion, in particular, “how the body is used as a transcended medium.” He considers each of his portfolios an anthropological research project with an emphasis in preservation. He was the first researcher to raise the theory that these largely inaccessible and secretive brotherhoods of mystic oral tradition, existed across five regions of Brazil. The following year, he proved and published his theory, having documented 117 groups across the entire country.

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