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. łThe 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.˛
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
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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