Esterio Segura (1970 - )

Alucinación (1996)

Mixed media
height: 200cm
width: 200cm

Donated by Esterio Segura 1996


Esterio Segura's Alucinación is a tableau in which Santería religiosity and Roman Catholic spirituality converge with secular meaning. The work immediately brings to mind balseros, Cuban exiles hoping to reach the U.S. coast in self-made boats, and the Christ-like figure appears to be blessing those who embark. The presence of feathers reveals that this work is also a ritualistic protection or acobijamiento (meaning literally 'to cover oneself'). Engaging the Ashè (divine authority) via the rite of sacrificing poultry is characteristic of Santería, and indicative of the Yoruba roots of this practice. Ferramentos (non-industrial nails) and firmas (carvings on wood) are further evidence of this work's ritual dimension.

The colour blue is one of the attributes of the Virgin Mary whose syncretic counterpart is Yemayá, the maternal orisha (divinity) of the seas. However as a clear depiction of a man (perhaps Karl Marx, Christ or a syncretic figure of both) the Santería reference must be Olokún, an ocean deity related to the West and to danger. He is husband to Aje Shaluga, the goddess of wealth. In the current Cuban context, this suggests that wealth is the illusion (the hallucination) that attracts balseros to make the dangerous passage to Miami. This piece then is at once political comment, artistic object, and an embodiment and invocation of well-being. Onå is a Yoruba word that conveys the creative skill involved in making an object unique and beautiful in addition to its ceremonial function; such is the case with Segura's vessel-shaped sculpture.

Carlos Molina, 2008

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