Belkis Ayón Manso(Havana, 1967-1999)

Belkis Ayón is the unusual case of a woman who devoted her brief but intense artistic career to recreating the cultural and spiritual heritage of a religious group of African origin, known in Cuba as the Abakuá Secret Society, which hasthe peculiarity of being an all-male society. Despite the fact that it does not admit any woman as a member, the main protagonist of the mythology and rituals of the society was a female named Sikán.

Perfidia (Perfidy)

Perfidia is one of the great works by Belkis. Despite the limited nature of our interpretations, we seem to see on the right side, Mpego, one of the obones, or dignitaries of higher hierarchy, holding his small and authoritarian drum and reporting, probably to king Iyamba, Sikán’s father, the need to sacrifice his daughter. To the left, with the body covered in fish scales, is Princess Sikán, her front and back depicted in such a way as to show that she hides the coveted fish Tanze in her right hand. Below, to the right, with a signature or anaforuana in the back that represents his hierarchy as a sorcerer, Nasakó offers a white rooster as an offering, since this is the first animal that Nasakó sacrificed to purify the fish in the episode of the bush. Another character offers him what could be the light of a candle, gunpowder or incense to remove bad spirits. All this is to make the spirit of Sikán appear, without which it is impossible to carry out any ceremony. It is probably this set of offerings, tinged with blackmail, that Belkis alludes to in her title, since such offerings have previously implied no more or less than the sacrifice or the ritual death of Sikán.

Year: 1998
Technique: Collography in heavy paper
Size: 200 x 252 cm (7 sheets of 100 x 70 cm each)

Theme: religion ritual music