Saturday it was back to business. I had made a ton of progress Thursday evening and Friday morning on my Vejigante. Below are some progress shots. Saturday morning my partner helped me cast my legs in a squatting position for the Atabeira piece. I'm still struggling with whether or not I want to have the figure standing or squatting. I've settled on the Viejagante as a standing piece but I'm still not sure how I feel about the Atabeira sculpture. I'm going to let that one sit for a bit while I work on some other things. Maybe it just needs to be a bust for now.
I'm embracing that there is a bit of humor in my work (think Viejagante) and I've been thinking about the resilience of the inhabitants of the Greater and Lesser Antilles. I think most Latinx's recognize the humor in many of these objects but there's also a kind of defiance to them. I read up on Santeria and Afro-Cuban/Afro-Caribbean religions this weekend. There's no getting around the fact that Santeria comes from a need to have hope in the midst of misery. Of the 12 Orishas (gods/goddesses) devotees worship, the most highly revered are tricksters. Considering this mythology along-side the politics of African slaves in places like Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, there is a need to sort of create answers for why they as a people are treated so unfairly. Often religion is most important during times of extreme duress. Humans across cultures have a tendency to seek answers in religion, magic or spiritual mythologies when we can't directly explain things. Santeria itself has become a mish-mash of African mythology, Spanish Catholic traditions and Taino mythology. Many of the Orisha's "crossdress" as saints and many share characteristics of Taino cemi. I'm fascinated by the similarities between these dieties and catholic saints. Slaves and indigenous people constantly had to figure out innovative ways to maintain their mythologies in the face of often brutal colonialism. As European and Spanish colonized Africa, South America and the Carribean, they also indoctrinated some form of Christianity/Catholicism. Often, they ridiculed the original inhabitants "child-like" worship of dieties and forced them to replace their mythology with one more "sophisticated." Rather than completely obliging, religions like Santeria were born. They maintained the very core of their belief system but disguised their Orishas with saints. Now the practice is kind of a bastardized version of what it's origin might have been. That isn't to say that it is any less significant or less important, but it has evolved according to a need to survive. I'm still just scratching the surface of a lot of this history so I'll update as I learn more.
So this week's agenda is to get my regular work done at Franklin and Marshall, Gather more materials for my newest idea (will elaborate on it next post!) and brace myself for the first critique with the advanced class at Millersville. It's also my last week before starting classes with Drexel!
Here's to more madness!