Who is God?
Worshipping is a way to communicate beliefs and feelings of individuals and religious communities. Every society I have every studied from the American Indians to the Ancient Greek have all believed in some form of worship or religion. Altars have been and are in existence in several if not all forms of region. Robert Farris Thompson depicts this for the African population in " Overture: The Concept 'Altar,' " and " With the Assurance of Infinity: Yoruba Atlantic Altars," Face of the Gods: Art and Altars of Africa and the African Americas, through pictures he and others have taken, has well as evidence from assorted books, articles, poems and songs, Thompson shows the meaningful role the Altar had in self expression of the Africans. ³The aim is to view black Atlantic art, especially in the New World, in terms of thoughtfully selected [altar] objects belonging to specific philosophic constellations which help to define the face of divinity.²
Through the oppression of the salve trade, the Yoruba Africans worked to keep there own conception of region intact. "Even under slavery, and under post slavery persecution in the late nineteenth century, the Yoruba of Cuba and Brazil managed to maintain sporadic but precious contact with Africa through networks of friends and traders. They sought the sacred cowries, seeds, and beads of Africa for their religion." This example of perseverance of their native ritual and worship practices, shows the magnitude that region held for many Yoruba Africans.
They kept their own religion alive through many hidden tactics such as unsuspected culinary art, by giving the gods the food they needed to be strong. "But these were more than foods: they were writings in code. African system of logic and belief flowed unsuspected from the kitchen, giving the gods the dishes they craved."
The Altar was also maintained by many-shelved cabinets called canastillerd, as Thompson showed in plate 175, the cabinet would hide the religious essence of the Alter inside, when police or strangers came. Thompson shows that anything from a empty room to a plate of food can be an alter, an altar is just a place that you realize and express your believe. From Afro-Cuba Yoruba painting their doors red for the god of thunder to the Afro-Brazilian Yoruba Altar of a bow-tried tree the Yoruba religion survived through slavery.
Unfortunately the Yoruba did not learn through the prosecution of their race. As documented in plate 174, a photo Thompson took in 1965 of a sculpture, which depicts a Egba Yoruba solder who has captured a Ijebu solder and is leading the bonded man, with a rope, to be sold as a salve. This coincides with the old saying do on to others has you would want, them to do to you. I have learned that the better man is the one who licks his wounds and walks away.
I was taught that religion teaches' love and acceptance of everyone. It seems to me that human beings all want the mostly the same basic things, freedom to believe what we want to, live how and where we chose, and have a safe and happy life for us and for are children. I believe that god and region is to, love and cherish what make us different.
History seems to prosecute people for their religious and cultural differences from the reformation, to Hitler's killing of the Jews and even the American Indians because they did not believe in the Europeans Christian ways. I believe that region should teach us to embrace each other's differences. I have tried to depict this in the Alter I have created of brown, black, and red holding hands in harmony along with the Jewish, Muslims and Christian religions all in one peaceful setting. I have put the mora together with the Christian angles and a town setting that looks Muslims along with people of all different colors embracing. Because I strongly believe that all of are differences should be cherished not prosecuted. The whole meaning of region for me is acceptance.
For my Altar I used wrapping paper that I had save from my fathers last Christmas present. My father died Last February of cancer. He probably used rapping paper from the hospital because of the many representations of religious symbols from different faiths. I known acceptance of differences comes easy at the end of our lives and I just think I should start at the beginning. This is what I hope to get across in my altar.
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