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Article

Mpambu Nzila: José Bedia at the Crossroads

Department of Cultures, Societies & Global Studies, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Academic Editor: Malgorzata Oleszkiewicz-Peralba
Religions 2021, 12(3), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12030172
Received: 17 January 2021 / Revised: 24 February 2021 / Accepted: 26 February 2021 / Published: 6 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Syncretism and Liminality in Latin American and Latinx Religions)
The article draws on the Kongo term mpambu nzila of crossroads, that equally signifies altar, to discuss the paintings and drawings of Cuban-born artist José Bedia. He is a practitioner of Palo Briyumba, a syncretic Afro-Cuban religion that combines Kongo religious beliefs, Regla de Ocha, Spiritism, and Catholicism. The article examines six works by the artist from 1984 to 1999 and how Bedia represents Palo in his art. Additionally, the centrality of the nganga (a cauldron that paleros use to work for and protect them) is discussed historically, philosophically, and religiously as a physical and spiritual embodiment of the crossroads. Bedia’s work is also analyzed using the Sankofa bird as metaphor (of flying forward and looking back) and as an example of the West African notion of coolness. The article also examines Palo as a de-colonial way of knowing and ends with the crossroads through the example of Lucero Mundo (Elegguá). View Full-Text
Keywords: mpambu nzila; crossroads; Regla de Palo; nganga; Sankofa; Regla de Ocha; orisha; mpungu; anti-colonial knowledge; spiritual knowledge; coolness; Sarabanda (Oggún); Pata Llaga (Babalú-Ayé); Lucero Mundo (Elegguá) mpambu nzila; crossroads; Regla de Palo; nganga; Sankofa; Regla de Ocha; orisha; mpungu; anti-colonial knowledge; spiritual knowledge; coolness; Sarabanda (Oggún); Pata Llaga (Babalú-Ayé); Lucero Mundo (Elegguá)
MDPI and ACS Style

West-Durán, A. Mpambu Nzila: José Bedia at the Crossroads. Religions 2021, 12, 172. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12030172

AMA Style

West-Durán A. Mpambu Nzila: José Bedia at the Crossroads. Religions. 2021; 12(3):172. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12030172

Chicago/Turabian Style

West-Durán, Alan. 2021. "Mpambu Nzila: José Bedia at the Crossroads" Religions 12, no. 3: 172. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12030172

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