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The Light Inside : Abakua Society Arts and Cuban Cultural History, Paperback / softback Book

The Light Inside : Abakua Society Arts and Cuban Cultural History Paperback / softback

Part of the Routledge Revivals series

Paperback / softback


Originally published in 2003, The Light Inside is a ground-breaking study of an Afro-Cuban secret society, its sacred arts, and their role in modern Cuban cultural history.

Enslaved Africans and creoles developed the Abakua Society, a system of men's fraternal lodges, in urban Cuba beginnings in 1836.

Drawing on years of fieldwork in the country, the book's novel approach builds on close readings of dazzling Abakua altars, chalk-drawn signs, and hooded masquerades.

It looks at the art history of Abakua altars, not only tracing changing styles but also how they evolve through cycles of tradition and renovation.

The Light Inside reflects the essence of the artists' creativity and experience: through adornment, altars project the powerful spirituality of Abakua practice, an aesthetic strategy.

The book also traces a biography of Abakua objects - their shifting forms and meanings - as they participated in successive periods of Cuban cultural history.

The book constructs close rhetorical and visual analyses of changing representations of the Abakua, spanning nineteenth-century arts and letters, modern ethnographic texts, museum displays, paintings, and late twentieth century commercial kitsch.

This interdisciplinary work combines art history, African Diaspora, cultural studies and cultural anthropology with Latin American.


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