yasmin hernandez welcome


Schomburg and the Diaspora

Pencil on Paper
10" x 8"

I designed this image for an annual event sponsored by Taller Puertorriqueño, Inc. in Philadelphia called The Arturo Schomburg Symposium. The event is dedicated to issues of the African Diaspora within Latin America. This particular symposium was addressing spirituality within the Diaspora. Arturo Schomburg, born in Puerto Rico, of African descent, dedicated his life to collecting works that would document the history and experience of Blacks in the Americas. His monumental collection is now made available to the public at the Schomburg Center in Harlem. I decided to create a portrait of Schomburg within an illustration of the evolution of spirituality in Latin America as a result of the syncretism between Spanish and African beliefs. To illustrate this, I represented Changó, Yoruba deity of fire and thunder, the fourth king of the Yoruba city of Oyo. Within the map of Spain I created an image of Saint Barbara, brought to the Americas by the Spanish Catholic Church. Over the map of Western Africa, is an image of the wooden statue with a double-edged ax on his head used to represent Shango in Nigeria. The figure depicted on the map of the Americas is a practitioner of Yoruba tradition, dancing for Shango dressed in the costume worn by the deity's devotees in Santeria. His costume also provides evidence of such syncretism. The crown, borrowed from Saint Barbara's image also represents Chango's royal status and the cowry shells adorning the costume are of African influence. The reversal of the continents was intended.