Hilda la Obbinisa Omo Eleggua (2008)

Hilda la Obbinisa Omo Eleggua
Acrylic on Canvas, 67" X 54"

Hilda was a great and cherished friend of ours, and an important spiritual leader in Perico. She was madrina (godmother) of the consecrated drums, keeper of songs and traditions, and often a lead singer during ceremonies. She told us many stories, and guided us through the folklore of Perico. One day she took us to a sugar cane field outside of town, where her enslaved ancestors had worked. I asked her if I could photograph her there. She was beautiful and elegant. She died less than a year later.

The painting shows her in the cane field wearing black and red, the colors of Eleggua, her patron saint (orisha). She releases white butterflies from an African gourd, symbolizing the release of the spirits of her ancestors. At her foot is a depiction of Eleggua, owner of the crossroads.