A letter from Angelica Dass

Shortend version:
Ms. Dass accuses us first of plagiarism and second of structural colonialism, which implies a form of cultural appropriation
. She demanded that we stop the the offcolor projekt.

My name is Angelica Dass and I’m a Brazilian photographer based in Spain. You can find more information about me and my work on my IG @angelicadass or in my web https://angelicadass.com/photography/humanae/. But I have the feeling that you know me.

By LOLAOMI - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=100071163
By LOLAOMI – Own work

Sometimes people say an imitation is a form of flattery, but plagiarism is an artistic violation. It has been brought to my attention that my work Humanae was copied by two photographers @ralf_mohr_photography @kynimalism, The problem that I have with this level of plagiarism is not just about my work, but also about the unsettling feeling I have as it relates to “western” privilege in the sense that clearly the photographer figured that since I am a Brazilian African Descendent woman an I would not come across the blatant plagiarism of my work and theme. Even worse is the question of how the models, festival, curator, and all involved are/were unaware of my evident work.

Humanae ( @humanae_project ) is a project that started in 2012, and has more than 4500 portraits, with 3 TED talks in 3 languages with almost 5 million views since 2016. Humanae has been featured from the World Economic Forum (Davos), UN-Habitat III, London Migration Museum, The Hague Museum, Lausanne Musée de l’Elysée, Dublin Science Gallery, PhotoEspaña; to the streets and museums of Madrid, Bilbao, Chiasso, Mettmann, Zagreb, Milan, Thessaloniki, Tel Aviv, São Paulo, Mexico City, Austria, Santiago de Chile, Pittsburg, Kingsport, Seoul, and many other cities; to the pages of National Geographic, Foreign Affair, BBC and many relevant media.

It is one thing to be inspired by the work that I create but another thing to choose to blatantly copy the full image from color and position, to gaze and composition. There is so much to talk about, and what has taken place is much deeper than a stolen artistic expression, it is a testament that some things may have changed…but some things remain stuck in a colonial context. I’m asking you to please be conscious that what is happening is wrong, and you are part of this. Please stop it!

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