“Each of the illustrations in The Oricha Collection depicts the principal gods and goddesses that comprise the Afro-Cuban religion of Santería.
The Afro-Cuban orishas can be traced to the 19th Century slave trade, when thousands of men, women, and children were taken from their Yoruba homes in Nigeria to be sold as slaves in the new world. In Cuba, the slaves were introduced to Catholic teachings, resulting in a blending of Yoruba and Christian beliefs over time. Due to structural similarities between the two religions, the Yoruba gods were identified with Catholic saints, and as a result, many generations of slaves continued to practice their religion under the guise of Christian liturgy. This union gave rise to a new system of beliefs known as Lucumí or Santería, the ‘way of the saints.’’