‘The Art of Disappearing’ (When A Haitian Voodoo Priest Visited Poland In 1980)
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This article by Tambay A. Obenson appeared in indiwire.com.
The Art of Disappearing is a new feature documentary that tells the little-known story of Haitian Voodoo priest, Amon Fremon, who visited the People’s Republic of Poland in 1980.
The short story goes, courtesy of the filmmakers…
Poland was a strange place for him. Even the rain was louder, as if in a land of deaf people. People gathered in queues for hours but they never spoke to each other. A romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz led him to the underworld and helped him contact Polish spirits. He survived the martial law period when the evil white water came from the sky, water that could not satisfy thirst. Finally he decided to perform a great Voodoo ceremony to free the Polish people from evil forces and start a revolution similar to the one that took place in Haiti 200 years ago.
The film is further described as a metaphysical view on socialism through the eyes of “a stranger form a different culture.”
I’m not familiar with Amon Fremon’s story, so those of you who are can chime in. What I did learn from the brief research I did on him, is that he believed that he was a descendant of Polish soldiers who were…[Full article HERE]
teach me how you deal with diasporic-related isolation
(via Paris Photo LA 2013: MAGNIN-A | Le Journal de la Photographie)
Paramount Photographers, Circa 1950, Unique vintage silver print hand-colored - André Magnin, Paris
“Black Madonna - Mitochondrial Eve,” David Hewson, 2004. Kittredge Cherry describes her:
The Madonna appears without the Christ child. Instead she holds a collection of colorful eggs representing the races of the world. The gesture embodies themes of both Christmas and Easter, because Mary Magdalene is traditionally shown holding a red egg as a symbol of resurrection. Black Madonnas were fairly common in Europe during the Middle Ages. Hewson traces the motif back even further. “Another metaphor of the Black Madonna has its connection with the earth…[P]rior to 2,000 years ago when worship of the feminine was a common practice, black soil was a source of nourishment, of life itself.”
Blackberri wearing the sacred necklaces of a priest in the Afro-Cuban Yorùbá-inspired Lucumí tradition, by Robert Giard, 2001. Elisa Rolle quotes his profile from Queering Creole Spiritual Traditions: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Participation in African Inspired Traditions in the Americas:
Born in 1945 as Charles Timothy Ashmore, Blackberri is a singer, composer, poet, photographer, and political activist. He is of mixed origins and started his career as gospel singer. He came out to his mother when he was a teenager and his mother accepted his being gay. After going into the armed services, he stopped singing gospel, but he returned to music in 1967…
In recent years, although Blackberri has continued to perform, he has devoted much of his time to the AIDS-related causes and organizations, including the Black Brothers Esteem Program at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Tenderloin AIDS Resource Center, also in San Francisco. In 2002, he was honored at the San Francisco Candlelight Vigil with a Lifetime Achievement AIDS Hero Award.
Today, Blackberri is a priest of Lucumi, or babalorisha: he first became seriously involved in this spiritual tradition in 1984 and was initiated in Oriente, Cuba, in 2000…In 1995, he [had] decided to visit Cuba with Queers for Cuba, a Bay Area-based organization. There, he “met Oshun, who blessed [him] in a lot of ways.”
Blackberri has visited Cuba seven times since 1995. On each of these visits, he has experienced a spiritual epiphany. This was the chief reason he ultimately decided to undergo initiation in Cuba: “That’s where I feel most strongly connected to spirit.”
Blackberri once said: “I think we choose [to be queer] as a part of our destiny, because of the things we have to teach other people about themselves, about life.”
JBC, Ochún, ca. 2011. As Mary Cuthrell Curry put it in Making the Gods in New York: The Yoruba Religion in the African American Community:
She is the owner of gold and is therefore extremely wealthy. She is the Orisha who holds her mirror (one of her major symbols) up to a person and demands that there be love for what is seen. She wants a person to love him/herself as she does herself. Her other major symbols have to do with connection. She has needles with which it is said she sews society together. More recently she has taken to sewing machines…
For anytime, a tale:
From the ancient stories of the Yoruba. This short, fully illustrated children’s picture book is the first in the Yoruba Orisa Children’s Series. [Shango’s Son; the second is the forthcoming Obatala’s Daughter.] Shango has a son who becomes his companion and protector. The son has amazing abilities that help Shango succeed. The plot, images and even some [West] African Yoruba vocabulary will enrich young and older readers alike. Spread the word!
Dr. Winmilawe (pronounced: “We-n-me-la-way”) is a writer, professor, Yoruba initiate, wife and devoted mother. She holds a PhD in African History. She has specialized in Yoruba studies since 1998…Dr. Winmilawe is from Philadelphia, PA, lives in Columbia, SC, and has visited Yorubaland, Nigeria, West Africa numerous times. She is available for book readings, interviews and talks.
The video trailer is here.
I needed to make sure that my children understood that we are perfect. That we came to the world perfect. That our color is perfect. That our hair is perfect. That our nose is perfect. And we don’t have to compare ourselves to anyone because we are the god and the goddess. —
Dr. Marta Moreno Vega
Portrait of Mother and Daughter
(Source: wine-loving-vagabond, via loveisthewateroflife)
Gerardo Castro, “Three Sides of Chango” (Oil on linen, beaded fabric, mixed media painting), 2011
Gerardo Castro draws on the cultural threads of his heritage: Afro-Cuban religions and symbols, spiritual beliefs, Christian iconography and powerful narratives.
Castro weaves together several layers of history to emphasize the hybridity of the Yorùbá deity Chango understood in Afro-Caribbean terms: the mosaic tile designs of Al-Andalus throwing into relief the single earring worn both in depictions of “Moors” on the pre-Reconquista Iberian peninsula and in reality, by the Black creole curros of colonial Havana; the sacred writing (anaforuana) of the Cross-River-derived Abakuá secret society embroidered alongside the firmas of the Kongo-inspired Palo Monte tradition; Chango’s rooster, double-headed axes (oshe), and Sta. Barbara (the Roman Catholic saint to whom the orisha corresponds in Cuba) appliquéd onto European textile patterns. The crown and breaded bracelet in the center panel—written on the shadow marked in a rite of passage—resemble the ritual vestments and sacred jewelry of Lucumí initiates. It is they who can see the length of fabric at Chango’s head and in his hand, yet still sing with confidence, “Oba ko so!”—The king did not hang.
Something special for breakfast this Sunday morning: my own rendition of the Chinese-inspired New Orleans street food known as Yaka Mein, a dish which is a regular feature at Second Lines and after long nights of boozing. This dish tells a story of Chinese laborers who were brought to Louisiana after the Civil War to work on sugar plantations. They formed a once-thriving but now-extinct Chinatown centered around Tulane Avenue. There were over 50 Chinese businesses listed in New Orleans in 1897, but Chinese Exclusion Laws and The Driving Out took their toll and Chinatown gradually faded away. Yaka Mein, however, has remained. Yaka Mein is Chinese food integrated into African American culture.
Being a Chinese American guy making an African American dish which has Chinese origins is particularly funny and poignant. It’s traditionally made with beef broth and spaghetti noodles, so I braised brisket in the slow cooker overnight in beer and water with ginger, scallion, carrot, a dash of soy sauce and worcestershire sauce, a bit of cayenne pepper and star anise. This morning I sliced the brisket and strained the broth, and poured it over pasta with scallion, a boiled egg, hot sauce and soy sauce. It’s normally not served with the braised carrot so that was my one departure. Yaka Mein is sometimes called Old Sober because it’s good for hangovers, and I can see why. Soothing, warming, easy on the stomach, economical and satisfying.
samuelpoerty asked: This is beautiful. blessed be.
Blessed are the patient followers, and very welcome too.
The Historian as Curandera
The role of a socially committed historian is to use history, not so much to document the past as to restore to the dehistoricized a sense of identity and possibility. Such “medicinal” histories seek to re-establish the connections between peoples and their histories; to reveal the mechanisms of power, the steps by which their current condition of oppression was achieved, through a series of decisions made by real people in order to dispossess them; but also to reveal the multiplicity, creativity and persistence of resistance among the oppressed.
In the writing, I chose to make myself visible as a historian with an agenda, but also as a subject of this history and one of the traumatized seeking to recover herself. My own work became less and less about creating a reconstructed historical record and more and more a use of my own relationship to history, my questions and challenges, my mapping of ignorance and contradiction, my anger and sorrow and exhilaration, to testify, through my personal responses to them, to how the official and renegade stories of the past impact Puerto Rican women. To explore, by sharing how I had done so in my own life, the ways that recaptured history could be used as a tool of recovery from a multitude of blows.
In writing Remedios, I made myself the site of experimentation, and engaged in a process of decolonizing my own relationship to history as one model of what was possible. As I did so, I evolved a set of understandings or instructions to myself about how to do this kind of work, a kind of curandera’s handbook of historical practice. The rest of this essay is that handbook.
To do exciting empowering research and leave it in academic journals and university libraries is like manufacturing unaffordable medicines for deadly diseases. We need to take responsibility for sharing our work in ways that people can assimilate, not in the private languages and forms of scholars. This is the difference between curanderas and pharmaceutical companies.
As if all my prayers have been answered, comes the answer to what Ive been trying to ask.