The most unprotected, and yet, the most powerful.

“A woman is a woman, black, white or any color...We have been taught that God created ‘man’ in his own image. In fact, we have created God in our own image. So ‘God’ is whoever we want God to be; a representation of the ideal, of the divine, of wisdom and love and pure creativity. Let’s face it, creativity, starting with the womb, is a female attribute.”

These are the words of Afro-Cuban, Chicago-based painter Harmonia Rosales. In 2017, she reimagined Michelangelo’s rendition of God and the First Man as Black Women. The Almighty, not as a white-haired white man, but as a Black woman reaching out to another Black woman. I find this to be quite powerful, for reasons beyond the obvious.

Dree Morris-Garrett photographed in front of the ‘Earth Goddess’ at the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s “Alice in Wonderland” exhibit.

On September 5th, 2020, Dree Morris-Garrett commissioned me to photograph her dressed in one of her original designs at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens during the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ exhibit. She designed the dress for my sister’s own maternity shoot, a look that I will forever hold in high regard as the design itself celebrates that originally female quality of creation.

My sister, photographed August 2nd in Leesburg. Wardrobe designed by Dree Morris-Garrett.

Now, the design she chose for this day was very well complimented by the environment of the gardens. I remember her telling me in the weeks leading up to our early September session that she dreamed of this shoot. I knew from the outset that for her, as well as for me, this would be an artistic and creative expression of a divine nature.

If ‘Mother Nature’ is the embodiment of those natural forces that keep the Earth in constant rotation and revolution, then the flora and fauna that sway in Her winds are almost certainly Her angels. Botanical gardens, no matter how large or small, hold a palpable energy that cannot be denied. And to create in this energy is an experience I treasure. Any time I am able to work in the presence of flowers, I almost certainly will transcend my last presentation.

What you see before you is a Black Woman expressing herself in front of well over a thousand pairs of eyeballs. She is so effortlessly confident clothed in her *own* garments that you cannot deny her divinity. In a world where the Black woman is so often denied basic human rights, it was an undeniable pleasure to show the world (Atlanta) her sanctity in real time.

Saying “The Black woman is God” is not blasphemous because it has nothing to do with anything that Europeans told us about the history of this world, or this Universe. It is a statement with one goal: to uplift Her. We have seen, time and time again, how this white male-dominated world treats her with violent disregard and disrespect. She is often used and abused, and never given justice. So, I dedicate all of these words to Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, and all of my female ancestors who survived. They watch over us as we fight to build a world that worships at her feet, instead of spitting in her face.

A long time ago, men decided (and with no subtlety I should add) they would be the center of the Universe. They made themselves God. They made themselves Adam. But modern Western science has shown us the true birthplace of “Adam and Eve”. We ALL come from Africa. And with that in mind, the Black Woman is the Mother of all that we know. I, Stallian Warren, choose to regard Her as such. And you, as a supporter of my work and the work of countless other Black artists, must commit yourself to Her protection, preservation, and exaltation.