O’Grady has long been fascinated with hybridity—the mixing of things together and the crossing of boundaries. A persistent theme in her work is the way that Blackness has always been part of thinking about “the West,” even if we tend to characterize it as White. This idea propels her engagement with art history in Announcement of a New Persona (Performances to Come!), which blends geographic and cultural forms including the European royal court, history painting, and Caribbean carnival—with its origins in the melding of Black and Indigenous cultures.

In these large, staged photographs (which she terms “performances for the camera”), O’Grady is dressed from head to toe in custom-made armor, which she designed to include direct references to both medieval knights and sixteenth-century conquistadors. Whereas those European colonizing figures would have worn feathered plumes in their helmets, O’Grady’s costume is adorned with palm trees—a signifier of the Caribbean and a reminder that the history of colonization in the Global South is not complete without the stories of the Indigeous people who inhabited it before the Europeans, nor the enslaved people of Africa who were brought there.