Arturo Lindsay

Franklin Furnace

With El Monte: Homenaje a Lydia Cabrera (Homage to Lydia Cabrera, 1993), Arturo Lindsay dedicated a rich, multimedia installation to Cabrera—the scholar of Afro-Cuban art and culture who brought the iconography of Santería to Wifredo Lam’s attention. By building five shrines dedicated to various orishas, or gods of Santería, and two shrines honoring the forgotten history of his native Panama, Lindsay lifted the veil of secrecy that has long accompanied Santería ritual—and artistic interpretations thereof—to reveal its symbolism without denying its spiritual dimension.

El Monte” confirms Lindsay’s role as an artist-ethnographer. Each one of the five orisha shrines presented an alchemical mix of genuine African and Afro-Atlantic ritual artifacts, such as statues and votive candles, and a range of objects drawn from popular culture. Each was backed by a large, ornately framed portrait of a

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