Orishas

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The deities of the African mythology are portrayed in Geraldo Melo’s essay in erratic movements as required by the uncertainties that surround the passionate gods of Candomblé*. There is no virtue or vice, there is no judgement, there is only the gesture that does justice to the feeling. The dance in the image of Geraldo’s orishas not only contemplates the movement of the rite, but achieves the state of ecstasy of the consecrated. We are all consecrated when we admire the beauty of the colors choreographed by the photographer’s hands in the technical mastery of light, the same light that crosses the sky of Iansã and the blade of Ogum. In these photos in dynamic rotation, we experience the dizziness, the joy and the tension of the African and Brazilian parties dedicated to initiation.

However, Geraldo’s intention, although he was born in Salvador and strongly influenced by Candomblé’s presence in the culture of Bahia, is not to tell a story of faith and devotion. It is only to contribute to a secular reading of the extreme poetic richness of the African myths: their aesthetic strength, their cathartic value, their permanence in the collective unconscious of the nations that share their Afrodescendence and its influence in all aspects of the cultural expression of these people.

Geraldo’s essay, therefore, is free of religious reading and, for that very reason, rich in new possible readings of these gods that – like Greek gods, with whom we are most familiar – remain alert in defense of everything that is authentic, visceral, magical and unpredictable, just like art.

*Religion of African origin with more than three million followers worldwide, especially in Africa and Brazil.

Karla Mourão

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