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A Paradigm Of Unbroken Rituals

44.5 x 28 inches mixed charcoal on paper

In “A Paradigm Of Unbroken Rituals,” Washington depicts a traditional river baptism, a rite of passage for African American Christians in the South. This sacred ritual, a symbolic act of purification and initiation, was performed in rivers, bayous, and lakes throughout southern America.

Washington depicts members of the church congregation gathered in excitement on the bank to witness the baptizing of a loved one. In the backdrop, the candidate is immersed in the water. Deacons lead a devotional consisting of the singing of hymns, scripture reading, and prayer.


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