by Katie Dorame
When missionaries landed on native California
Editor’s note: In her Alien Apostles series, artist Katie Dorame reimagines the Spanish missionaries who came to California in the eighteenth century as 1950s B-movie space aliens. She writes:
Spanish missionaries and soldiers were only human shells with a deeper squishy green glowing motive: their home planet was in desperate need of cowhides, tallow, wine, and the other goods the slave labor of the missions produced. Or maybe the vast knowledge the Indians had previous to the alien invasion needed to be taken and mutated in order to mine a precious resource found deep within the earth. Whatever the space aliens’ motive was, they needed a unified, purified, categorized, renamed, and rebranded flock of “Neophytes.”
They used baptism as a tool. The glowing green holy water was an irrevocable agreement. Once you were baptized you were visibly and supernaturally branded forever. You were renamed. As a “Neophyte” you were no longer allowed to leave the church. The church owned you and your soul. Those who attempted to leave were hunted down by the Spanish soldiers and flogged.
Through Hollywood and history books we’ve learned a romanticized version of the past. The California mission courtyards today are filled with dewy roses and the graveyards are filled with quaint white washed wooden crosses with no reflection of the horror of a measles epidemic to a non-immune populace—spread by holy water.
Mission Exterior, 2014.
Mission Interior, 2014.
Invasion by the Sea, 2014.
The Evangelist, 2014.
Three Padres by the Fountain, 2014.
Green Padre, 2014.
Convert Priest, 2014.