Jessi Jumanji is a L.A.-based artist, he showcased this ancestral-themed “Distant Relatives: Familiar Faces” series pairs up famous faces of the diaspora with their historic and ancestral visual counterparts.
A spiritual reunion of sorts between genetic similarities passed down through generations and millennia. Stumbling upon some truly remarkable surprises and similarities between black creatives and our ancestors, “Distant Relatives: Familiar Faces” is an awe-inspiring visual treat.
“The “Distant Relatives: Familiar Faces” series is an exploration that I started few years ago when I first began to research my family history,” Jumanji tells AFROPUNK. “I discovered some old family photographs after my grandfather died, and I was blown away by the striking similarities in appearance that have manifested through the generations. I matched an old picture of my great great grandmother with a recent picture of my aunt and it was spot on. It gave me a newfound sense of pride and identity. I realize that for many black people in America, knowledge of self is a missing link because of the negative effects of colonization and slavery that have systematically stripped us of a sense of historical significance and belonging. My studies in African history began to overlap with my interest pop culture when I noticed that some of the photographs I’ve collected over the years resembled many of the black superstars we are fans of. I wanted our culture to be celebrated in the same way. We should be fans of our ancestors. I decided to create matchups of celebrities with their native African counterparts to show just how closely we are connected to our African roots, whether we realize it or not.”