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Afro-Cuban Religious ArtsPopular Expressions of Cultural Inheritance in Espiritismo and Santería$
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Kristine Juncker

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813049700

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813049700.001.0001

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Hortensia and Iluminada Afro-Cuban Ritual Altars at the Crossroads

Hortensia and Iluminada Afro-Cuban Ritual Altars at the Crossroads

(p.69) 3 Hortensia and Iluminada Afro-Cuban Ritual Altars at the Crossroads
Afro-Cuban Religious Arts

Kristine Juncker

University Press of Florida

Chapter 3 examines the photographic documentation of temporary public altars by Hortensia Ferrer and Iluminada Sierra Ortiz, as well as their established patterns of discourse surrounding this material. In the 1940s and 1950s, Hortensia had a number of her family’s temporary Espiritismo altars photographed and kept these images in her home for her audiences to consult. These photographs capture a period in which Afro-Cuban religious arts became particularly dramatic and sumptuous. Through this exploration of altars, Hortensia, Iluminada, and their religious family plumbed the tensions that existed between the separate practices of Espiritismo and Santería as they sought to create a larger religious community. Analysis of how these women documented their religious community’s altar practices permits insight into the explosion of and anxiety surrounding Afro-Caribbean arts in Cuba and the United States.

Keywords:   religious arts, altars, photography, documentation, Espiritismo, Santería, Hortensia Ferrer, Iluminada Sierra Ortiz

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