When Santiago Rodríguez Olazábal entered the artistic scene in the mid-1980s, the knowledge of Ifá began gradually to move beyond the esoteric domain, where it had remained under the sole control of the babalawos from way back, and started to circulate within the more liberal artistic circles. The knowledge of Ifá became the subject of public exhibits and art criticism being reproduced in catalogues and magazines, thereby becoming part of the art market. Something similar happened with Santería, Palo Monte and Abakuá.
El valor de las cosas could refer to two issues, one spiritual and the other material. On one hand lies the value of the messages of the orishas expressed through the shells (diloggún) as a method of divination used by Cuban santeros or iworos, and on the other, the value assigned to the cowry shell, formerly used as currency in Africa. Which amongst these values should be paramount in the life of a religious person? Monetary affluence or spiritual wealth? This seems to be the question posed by Santiago, to be applied beyond the religious context.
Technique: Mixed media on linen
Size: 150 x 118 cm