“Penitents,” also known as “Soul Feeders,” or “Brothers of Soul” are secret secular groups that during certain times of the year, go out into the night to pray for the “suffering spirits,” usually covering their faces with shrouds or hoods, and in some dramatic cases, practicing self-flagellation.
Alongside the Photographs are a collection of original objects that Veloso has received from the Decurion/ Mayordomos, which is the name given to the heads of the “Orden do Noreste.” Among them are mantles, clappers, discipliners, amulets, letters, necklaces, statues that belonged to the Brotherhood of Penitentes in Brazil. Veloso’s recurring theme in his work is the topic of religion, in particular, “how the body is used as a transcended medium.” He considers each of his portfolios an anthropological research project with an emphasis in preservation. He was the first researcher to raise the theory that these largely inaccessible and secretive brotherhoods of mystic oral tradition, existed across five regions of Brazil. The following year, he proved and published his theory, having documented 117 groups across the entire country.