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Guadeloupe photographer challenges assumptions about LGBTQ people and faith

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“The Beauty of Innocence” photo series is coming to Le Gosier, Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe photographer Maurice-Alain Lima’s “The beauty of innocence” photo series challenges assumptions about the place of LGBTQ+ people in religious spaces.

Guadeloupean photographer Maurice-Alain Lima will be holding an exhibition of his latest photo series, “The Beauty of Innocence,” which challenges social norms about LGBTQ+ people in religious spaces. The exhibition will be held at the Arawak Beach Resort hotel in Le Gosier, Guadeloupe from June 28 to July 13, with the support of singer Carole Venutolo, a patron of Voix-Arc-En-Ciel, which helps LGBT+ people with questions or problems. The event is also supported by the organizations Stop Homophobie, Amalgame Humani’s, and Koumbit Fanm Karayib.

Lima shared his thoughts on his exhibition with the French-language website Stop Homophobie in an article that is translated below.

Maurice-Alain Lima: Photography is an art form that has to tell a story, and the exhibition was born of universal societal questions about the place of LGBT+ people in spaces of faith and spirituality, particularly within the Catholic Church. This questioning seemed all the more glaring in a pious and religious society like Guadeloupe.

Maurice-Alain Lima

As far as I’m concerned, people are born as they are, with their sexual orientation, and God doesn’t discriminate. So I’ve been lucky to live in a world where I’ve never faced rejection, but I know that’s not the case for everyone, especially in an island environment.

So for my project, I was inspired by Christian LGBT+ people here in Guadeloupe who continue to persevere in their faith, despite feelings of rejection from the Church, while some parents express bitterness towards their homosexual children because of their religious convictions.

And it’s to deal with this hypocrisy that I use photography and images as an artist, in order to raise public awareness, without necessarily seeking to combat Catholicism. In this sense, I have remained faithful to God, but I have differences with the Church.

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Finally, I think that Pope Francis’ recent pronouncements on the blessing of homosexual couples should be seen as an attempt to stem the hemorrhaging within the ranks of the Catholic Church, but I think that even in Guadeloupe this must raise questions for the ecclesiastical authorities, and it would be good if they could take a stand locally, if the visibility of my exhibition can help (Editor’s note: Monseigneur Philippe Guiougou, bishop of Guadeloupe, spoke to the press last February about the blessing of Catholic couples in an irregular situation).

Finally, I’d like to say that of the 30 works in the exhibition, I’ve based my work on eleven models, only five of whom are homosexual. This is my way of affirming that there are no differences, and that we are all children of God through faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:26).


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