The Ceiba and Baobab Trees (2010)

The Ceiba and Boabab Trees
Sumi Ink, metal leaf, and watercolor on paper, 17" X 22"

Reinaldo Robinson, January 21, 2006. Perico, Cuba.

Los Lucumí sí y todas esas personas que vinieron del Africa, ellos realizaban cosas como la tía Felipa mía. Las cosas que ellos veían aquí eran igualitas a las cosas que veían allá, ahí todos los árboles, todas las cosas que había aquí eran muy parecidas a Africa.. Entonces se la encontraron aquí y de eso es de lo que ellos hablaban, pero siempre ellos decían 'mira, oye y calla'.  Entonces ellos realizaban sus cosas. También no sé si yo se los dije a ustedes ellos hacían una cosa, yo me rio porque hoy la cosa es distinta. Las consagraciones se hacían al que lo necesitaba, no a todo el mundo. El que tenía necesidad, esto es sin ofensa, de realizar algo y entonces hoy las cosas las entregan todas juntas, parece que es más fácil, pero aquello ellos lo entregaban por separado. Un ejemplo, a usted le hacía su consagración, era la que le tocaba y según iba pasando el tiempo que se iban presentando los escollos o los problemas, le iban entregando. (Page 8-9 Interview Book)

Mario José, December 31, 2007, Agramonte, Cuba.

Mi bisabuela Ma Jacinta cuando nace, nace en la mano, un secreto, era Osaín, lo trajo de Africa en la mano. Y así ellos traían sus cosas, se las tragaban. algunas cosas, lo vomitaban aquí, lo echaban, se lo sacaban, yo no sé de que forma y ahí fundamentaban con la experiencia que traían. No es que ella haya traído completo la cazuela esa, ellos traían la esencia, otros traían su espíritu, otros lo llamaban aquí, no hacía falta que trajeran esto, pero llamaban a Ogún porque el caldero puede estar aquí, pero si usted está en La Habana, usted llama a Ogún en La Habana. los atributos es una cosa, pero ellos traían, muchos trajeron sus deidades, sus secretos, lo traían de esa manera, unos en una piedra, otros los esclavizaron y ya …. 

Reinaldo Robinson, January 21, 2006. Perico, Cuba.

Robinson: The Lucumis and all those people that came from Africa, made their things, the way my aunt Felipa did. They found equivalents here for all of the things they had seen in Africa, like trees. Everything here was quite similar to Africa. They found things here and they talked about that, but always saying, 'look, listen, and remain silent.' And so, that is how they created their things. Also, I don't know if I told you about one thing they did, and now I laugh because these days it is done in a very different way. Consecrations were done for those who were in need of them, not for everybody, for the person who was in need, and I mean no offense, of having a ritual. But today they give you everything all at once. It seems like it's easier, but elders did it separately. For example, you were consecrated and you only received what they considered necessary for you.  As time went by and bumps appeared on your road, you received more.

Mario José, December 31, 2007, Agramonte, Cuba.

Mario José: My great-grandmother Ma Jacinta was born with a secret in her hands.  It was Osaín.  She brought it from Africa in her hand.  That's how they brought their things.  Sometimes they swallowed them and they vomited them when they got here. They expelled them, they got them out, I don't know how, and then they created a 'fundamento' (consecration) using the experience they brought with them. It is not that she brought that whole entire cauldron with everything it contains, they brought the essence, some people brought their spirits with them, others called them here.  It wasn't necessary to bring it, if they called to Ogún, although the caldron might be here, and you were in Havana, you would call to Ogún in Havana. The attributes are one thing, but many of them brought their deities, their secrets and they brought them this way, some in a stone, other people were enslaved, and the shackles were placed where they had power…