By Kristine Juncker
“Challenges the reader in provocative new methods. issues to the salient name to motion offered by way of neighborhood Santería and Espiritismo arts, ritual, functionality, and different cultural kinds in addressing middle questions of background, legacy, and new beginnings.”—Suzanne Preston Blier, writer of Royal Arts of Africa
“A a lot wanted research of the style within which the non secular artwork of girls is a primary measurement of Afro-Cuban spiritual ritual, either within the private and non-private spheres.”—Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado, writer of Afro-Cuban Theology
From a plantation in Havana Province within the Eighteen Eighties to a spiritual middle in Spanish Harlem within the Sixties, this publication profiles 4 generations of girls from one Afro-Cuban spiritual family members. the ladies have been attached by means of their well-known roles as leaders within the religions they practiced and the dramatic ritual art they created. every one used to be a medium in Espiritismo—communicating with useless ancestors for assistance or insight—and additionally a santera, or priest of Santería, who may perhaps interact the oricha pantheon.
Kristine Juncker argues that by way of growing paintings for a couple of faith those ladies shatter the preferred assumption that Afro-Caribbean religions are particular agencies. The portraiture, sculptures, and images in Afro-Cuban non secular Arts supply infrequent and noteworthy glimpses into the rituals and iconography of Espiritismo and Santería. Santería altars are heavily guarded, restricted to initiates, and usually destroyed upon the loss of life of the santera whereas Espiritismo artifacts are not often thought of precious adequate to go on. the original and protean cultural legacy distinctive right here unearths how ritual artwork grew to become well known imagery, sparked a much broader discussion approximately tradition inheritance, attracted new practitioners, and enabled Afro-Cuban spiritual expression to blow up internationally.
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Additional info for Afro-Cuban Religious Arts: Popular Expressions of Cultural Inheritance in Espiritismo and Santería
Of Spiritism among the black population in Cuba is from the archives of the Spanish colonial government and the Catholic Church. In the 1880s and 1890s, all regular social gatherings were required to be recorded by the provincial governments in a Registry of Associations. Registry documents outlined organizations’ bylaws, including information about each group’s purpose and a description of its meetings and the different leadership roles held within any organization. Hundreds of groups are listed in the Registry of Associations under the category “Espiritismo,” and their documents regularly make reference to such groups celebrating spirits with African identities.
5 He claims to have worked with a number of incarcerated Afro-Cuban men and to have had access to their seized religious artifacts, which are featured in the book’s illustrations. In his text, Ortiz frequently compares these seized objects to available descriptions of African art and cultural practices. ”11 Ortiz then went on to describe the practices and objects employed by these “criminal” groups. His descriptions largely pertained to Palo, the Ñáñigo Society (or Abakuá),12 and La Regla de Ocha (whose rituals persist into the present day), although he frequently grouped their practices together.
Many members of the Afro-Cuban community—not all of them religious practitioners—viewed the writers’ work with trepidation, and the literature published as a result of their investigations did little to quell police and government persecution of Afro-Cuban men and women. In the 1930s, another Cuban anthropologist, a mixed-race man named Rómulo Lachatañeré, emerged onto the scene. 57 His first book, ¡Oh, mío Yemayá! (1938), consisted of religious stories collected from his fieldwork in Havana. Rather than accept the exoticizing and less-than-subtle observations of Afro-Cuban religious culture in Ortiz’s early work, Lachatañeré, whose scholarship arose arguably from within the Afro-Cuban community, attempted to reclaim the discourse on Afro-Cuban beliefs: he revised the negative vocabulary that had previously been applied to Afro-Cuban traditions, and he encouraged religious practitioners to record their practices themselves.
Afro-Cuban Religious Arts: Popular Expressions of Cultural Inheritance in Espiritismo and Santería by Kristine Juncker