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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. "The 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
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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Altars, Robert Farris Thompson, Yoruba people
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