2014 - 2017
Cavalcante, Goiás, Brazil
In the distant ex-mining town of Cavalcante in the state of Goais, 190 miles from Brasilia, resides the Arizan Temple of the Valley of the Dawn Doctrine which has been operating for the past seventeen years under the command of Mr. Jonas.
Thru of a series of spiritual therapies and invocations of unseen forces, the devotees treat the local population as an act of karmic mission. Englobing a pot-pourri of beliefs, comprising of a mixture of tradicional religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, the spiritual element of the Judaism, the Kaballah, alongside spiritualist elements from Spiritism and animism from African tribes known as Umbanda, a pinch of New Age and the fundamental believe of Intergalactic communication, the Valley of the Dawn Doctrine has become a popular alternative for spiritual guidance and existencial understanding in several Brazilian cities, as an alternative to the ever-growing Evangelical religious boom.
Neiva Zelaya founded the doctrine in 1969 in the town of Planaltina in the outskirts of the recently constructed capital of Brasil, Brasilia. At age 33, Aunt Neiva, as she is known, experienced visual and auditive hallucinations which where codified and theorized by her companion Mario Sassi for the creation of the Doctrine. Nowadays there are more than 600 temples of the Valley of the Dawn worldwide.
A gaze towards community-based spirtual rituals that involve an amalgam of tradicional practices, which does not have as its prime intention the function of evangelization or commercialization of faith, becomes an urgent practice at this moment. This is an approach to the doctrine thru some of the spacial and symbolic elements, details of certain rituals performed in specific dates and everyday routinary celebrations.
Thru an intimistic zoom this series intends to showcase our human search and need of belonging to a community and the necessary representation and ritualization of those public encounters.
This project is part of an on-going greater body of work on rites and faith in Mexico and Brasil. It is a chapter in a greater investigation about the expansion of the agribusiness in the Cerrado biome, and how it is affecting the region surrounding the Chapada dos Veadeiros Natural Reserve in Goias.