March 11, 2008
Exhibit to Open at the Yeh Art Gallery on
Wednesday, March 12
St. John’s University presents “African
Influences on Contemporary Altars in the Americas: An Exhibition of
Altars and Ritual Offerings,” curated by Prof. Liza Renia Papi,
on exhibit at the Dr. M. T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery on the Queens
campus March 12 – April 23, 2008. This exhibition is free of
charge and accessible to the handicapped.
The exhibit focuses on altars functioning as popular art forms,
while at the same time reflecting the perceptions of individual
artists who are responding to cultural adaptations and innovations
originating from the syncretism of Afro- Caribbean beliefs and
traditions. Participating artists include: Nancy Azara, Barbara
Cannizzaro, George Crespo, Beate Echols, Dra. Oweena Fogarty,
Radiah Harper, Peter Kloehn, Carol LaBarbera, Izan Petterle, Larry
Racioppo, Vincent Salas, and Miriam Schaer.
“While all ritual offerings represent a form of worship, plea to
a spirit, ancestor or deity, many also incorporate icons, symbols
and expressions that are not necessarily religious,” said Renia
Papi. “The altars are presented here as a means to pay homage
through an ornamental canonization that takes the form of an altar.
This homage is developed during the exhibition with the comparison
between the visual art altars and religious home altar, and
community altars that are worshiped in Brooklyn (Humbanda Altar);
Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Bahia- Brazil (Candomblé); Havana- Cuba
(Santeria and Virgen de Regla Altar); and from Puerto Rico (Home
An opening reception is scheduled for Thursday, March 13 at 4:30
p.m. Carlos de Oliveira will perform “Filhos de Gandhi (Sons
of Gandhi),” based on a type of Candomble that came about in the
1940s inspired on the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi.
This event is co-sponsored by: Center for Latin American and
Caribbean Studies (CLACS) and the New York State Council on the
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