writer and photographer

Rachael Devaney

about rachael

Rachael Devaney is a freelance reporter and photojournalist for multiple publications on Cape Cod, the South Shore, and in New York City.

Her work has been featured in:

  • The Cape Cod Times

  • The Barnstable Patriot

  • Cape Cod Life

  • Falmouth Magazine

  • Wicked Local

Devaney grew up in Centerville, MA and attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, double majoring in Journalism and Social Thought and Political Economy.

latest exhibit

"Blacking Out: Critical Consciousness on Cape Cod," a vibrant exhibit that captures the incredible passion of protesters and members of our community as they fought to be heard.

Currently on display at the Cotuit Center for the Arts.

"Matriarchal Strength" is a descriptive and passionate photo exhibit, a collection of stories about Indigenous separations and border crossings.

writing, photos

Upcoming Book Release

Finding Fressia is a rare collection of stories that reflect and explore the lives of adopted women of color.

While there are plenty of books that give advice to parents who are looking to adopt, Finding Fressia has instead captured the voices of 20 women of color who were adopted from around the world and raised in the United States.


If you would like to see any of my exhibits at your gallery, school,
business, or organization, I'd be happy to connect with you.

About Rachael

Rachael Devaney is a freelance writer and photojournalist for publications on Cape Cod, the South Shore, and New York City and sits on multiple boards including Amplify POC, Cape Cod Times Diversity Board, and the Cordial Eye Gallery and Artist Space.

Most recently, Devaney debuted her photography exhibit, “Blacking Out: Critical Consciousness on Cape Cod,” which showcases photos taken throughout the Cape area as community members protested the murder of George Floyd in May of 2020. The collection of work will show at Cotuit Center for the Arts until October 4, 2021.

In February of 2020, Devaney also launched “Matriarchal Strength: stories of Indigenous separation and border crossing,” a photographic body of work which illustrates the struggles asylum seekers face due to America’s current stance on immigration. The traveling exhibit also touches on the re-unification with Devaney’s birth family, who she lost contact with in 1978 after being adopted from El Salvador.
Devaney grew up in Centerville, MA, attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, double majoring in Journalism and Social Thought and Political Economy. Upon graduation in 2001, Devaney moved to New York City, living in Harlem, where she contributed to nationally distributed urban magazines like “XXL,” and “The Ave Magazine.” At that time, she also worked for social justice organizations like the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES); and the National chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

After moving back to Massachusetts in 2010, Devaney worked for several immigration law firms as a paralegal, but eventually became a regular business and entertainment contributing writer and photographer for the "Cape Cod Times," "The Barnstable Patriot,” “Cape Cod Life,” Falmouth Magazine,” “Southern New England Weddings Magazine,” “Wicked Local," and lifestyle guide "Madame Noire." Devaney also co-founded the Adoption Circle for Women of Color (ACFWC) in 2010, which continues to hold support groups in the Tri-State and New England area.

Devaney currently resides in Onset, Massachusetts – Wampanoag territory - with her daughter Fressia Jones and partner Juarez Stanley and can be contacted through her website at www.rachaeldevaney.com.

Matriarchal Strength

Stories of Indigenous separation and border crossing

Photography exhibit, “Matriarchal Strength,” was composed in 2019 by freelance reporter and photojournalist Rachael Devaney, and was originally curated by Jay Block, associate director of Collections and Exhibitions at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts.
The show, which features 11 large-scale portrait images of Devaney’s birth family, was composed after Devaney, who was adopted from El Salvador in 1978 and raised on Cape Cod, was reunited with her biological family.

Although she always knew she was Indigenous, after her family reunification in April of 2018, Devaney became more familiar with her roots and culture through stories told to her by her biological mother Alba; her 96-year-old grandmother Leonandra; sister Guendy; cousin Darwin; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins - all of whom are of the Pipil people of El Salvador.

Over the course of several years, Devaney took photos of her family as they spent time in California and on Cape Cod and documented the stories - to not only share what it’s like to be an adoptee living in America, but to also raise awareness about the struggles her biological family faced in El Salvador, as well as what is now known as the United States, after crossing over Southern borders as asylum seekers.

Most recently, after 40 years since her birth, Devaney took her first trip home to Ahuachapan, El Salvador in July of 2021. The experience, filled with cultural exchange and extended familial reunification, encouraged Devaney to update the exhibit with additional photos and stories in the form of a book - which, for her, further allowed her to heal as an adoptee, and connect to her family and homeland.

By capturing photos and sharing these written narratives in a myriad of forms, Devaney has created a cohesive show that illustrates Indigenous strength and survival.

Finding Fressia

A collection of stories that reflect and explore the lives of adopted women of color.

While there are plenty of books that give advice to parents who are looking to adopt, Rachael Devaney, author of Finding Fressia, has instead, captured the voices of 20 women of color who were adopted from around the world and raised in the United States - perspectives that often go unheard in the world of adoption.

From the abrupt, yet precipitous hills of San Francisco; to the sprawling desert plains of Texas; to the gritty streets of Washington Heights in Manhattan; through the salty shores of Cape Cod in Massachusetts; to the fragrant, thick and lush pine forests of Brattleboro, Vermont; these women, who were born in countries like El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Cuba, India, Korea, Brazil and Columbia, bravely share their life experiences with Devaney, who was also adopted from El Salvador in 1978.

As each woman voices their individual story, "Finding Fressia" participants express how they’ve (positively and negatively) battled through the raw pain of abandonment, which brings readers through topics like self-harm, promiscuity, substance abuse, and abusive relationships.

In addition, these women also talk in depth about their adopted families, and the type of adoption they've experienced. Whether it's a domestic, international, same-sex, same-race, trans-racial, foster, step-parent, and relative adoptions, their stories can’t help but resonate with a myriad of communities and expose political and social issues that arise within diverse cultures and creeds like race, homophobia, social justice, and white privilege.

Which is why Devaney also included in-depth interviews with political activists, environmentalists, and economists, who offer unique perspectives on world history, politics, and socio-economics, which can help readers understand how foreign and domestic policies have influenced modern-day stances on adoption, and important world matters like colonization, immigration, sex trafficking, Indigenous land disputes, cultural appropriation, and racism.

Despite the adversity each of these women have faced, throughout "Finding Fressia," many of these powerful story tellers also talk about how they've found the strength to search for their biological families. While many have not yet found their birth parents or immediate relatives, the search, which is different for each woman, has stimulated an intense journey towards self discovery.
Because each open and honest story of adoption is also paired with full-color glossy images of these women, also taken by Devaney, readers can gain a true sense of who these women are, and can grasp the love and passion they have for life, and for the blended families who have helped to make them who they are.

For more information on the book, which will be released in the summer of 2020, or information on speaking engagements, please reach out to Devaney directly at 508-776-1902.

Blacking Out

Artist Statement - Rachael Devaney

When George Floyd, an unarmed and non-violent Black man was murdered by Derek Chauvin, former police officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, the Cape Cod area exploded with protests, marches, and silent vigils.

The outpouring of support for Floyd rose like a tidal wave, reached from the tip of Provincetown straight through the Gateway of Cape Cod, spilling into the Onset and Wareham area.

While Black communities across the nation have been disproportionately impacted by police killings for centuries, the brutality of this crime, in particular, struck a chord with people from all races, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds around the world.

Maybe it was the casual way Chauvin was kneeling on Floyd’s neck that resonated – the weight of his body bearing down on Floyd for eight minutes and 46 seconds - until his life was tragically ripped away.

Or maybe it was Floyd’s cries of “mamma,” as he lay dying in the street, that captivated the public’s attention and feelings of outrage and civil unrest.

With the loss of life so prevalent in local minds, as a freelance and photojournalist, a woman of color, and a mother to my Black and Indigenous daughter, it became a priority for me to document the many demonstrations in support of Black life that erupted on Cape Cod with my camera.

For months, I jumped from one event to the next – each region approaching these protests differently. In Falmouth and Sandwich, protesters showed support in silent solidarity; in Mashpee and Hyannis students from all over took a stand loudly and proudly through marches, singing, and speaking events; and in West Barnstable men, women and children of all ages danced in the streets, honoring George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. While these gatherings were extremely unique, each protest set equally powerful tones throughout our sandy shores.

What also stood out as I clicked away – frame-by-frame – was the Black youth that rose to positions of leadership and the inter-generational support they held for their elders and local civil rights icons. These young men and women stood their ground. Time and time again, they either took to the stage to voice their concerns; shared a story or experience about what it’s like to be Black on Cape Cod; and/or chanted sentiments of freedom through their bullhorns as they marched through the streets. And while many of the vigils and protests have dwindled down, their bravery, and solidarity, not only made its way into my camera – but also continued to echo in many hearts after I shared my work on social media.

Through a residency with the Cape Cod Arts Foundation in 2020, I put this exhibit together, printing each life-sized photo on corrugated plastic, echoing the many protest signs that have come to life since the dawn of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. With each piece popping out from its sturdy and durable frame, the vibrant imagery of support for Black life captures the incredible passion these protesters and members of our community displayed as they fought to be heard. These photos are also accompanied with narratives from each subject - quotes that share their sentiment on why he, she, or they felt the need to protest in the wake of Floyd’s death.

With this project, I hope to continue to educate the local community on the Black experience on Cape Cod. As the rise of police brutality and white supremacy continues to ripple through our nation, in my opinion, it’s incredibly important to make space for Black art and Black people - especially in an area that’s 96 percent white, according to the 2000 Barnstable County census. By offering support to communities of color and taking the time to elevate Black people, we can acknowledge their voices as instruments of collective change.

If you'd like to see this exhibit in person, visit the Cotuit Center for the Arts in Cotuit, MA.