Devils A photography project by Conor Beary

“It is said that if you photograph the Bush Devils, the pictures won’t come out”

The Dancing Devils of Liberia are masked performers who represent different tribal demons and deities. All belonging to the Poro (men) and Sande (women) community, they are relics of traditional Juju worship belief systems that were dominant in West Africa before the introduction of Christianity.

The communities they belong to have long been a part of the culture of certain ethnic groups that constitute present-day Liberia. In the Poro context, the dancing devils are not regarded as evil — they have the ability to inflict punishment on individuals, though this is only used to bring order to society. The devils used to dance only at traditional festivals, though with the arrival of the freed and freeborn American settlers in the 1800s, they brought their dance to imported Christian holiday celebrations such as Christmas.

Despite the devils’ ability to adapt, the christian Americans became the ruling class and pushed these unorthodox traditional customs to the underground. The Devils themselves do not necessarily represent evil, Christian missionaries demonized previous belief systems hence the term Devil.

– Discover more of Conor’s work here

Monthly Photo Contest

color portrait of an elderly woman by Can Sever
© Can Sever

2022 Visual Storytelling AWARD Deadline: 31 January 2022

The art of visual storytelling encompasses a wide range of possibilities with at its heart, the will to tell a story.

From classic social documentary to imaginative storytelling: this month we are seeking visual artists aiming to captivate; unique voices willing to share their stories with conviction and awareness.⁠

Portrait, street, documentary, landscape: All approaches are valid. Enter now and show us YOUR stories!


1st Prize: $1000 · 2nd Prize: $600 · 3rd Prize: $400

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