The women of Ifá Iranlowo

Natalia Favre

2020 - Ongoing

*Flowers sprout from your hands,

smell like salt in the deepness,

my throat opens*

Before meeting the women of Ifá Iranlowo, when I thought about the concept of religion, the first word that came to my mind was oppression; followed by, almost by a clear inclination, words like duty, prohibition, and sin. My whole childhood and adolescence was molded under the norms and principles of an institution run by nuns, which produced a clear abhorrence of anything that had to do with Catholicism in me, and for me, religion, was synonym of Catholicism.

Meeting the women of Ifá Iranlowo opened up a new perspective on the meaning of this word, no longer linked to oppression, but to liberation, identity and memory. Ifá Iranlowo women have a way of relating to religion that is a day-today-relationship and it is something pleasant. Their bodies wake up everyday to the sound of the drum embarking on a spiritual journey through time.

At a time of global crisis, this work aims to navigate other possible spiritualities that allow us to connect with the land we inhabit through the ancestral values that are embodied by these women. As part of the work process, I felt the need to use my body to allow myself to go through these encounters and reconnect with my nature.

*** Ifá Iranlowo is a religious house-temple that resides in the neighborhood of Los Sitios, Havana. Its mission is to safeguard the historical legacy of Yoruba memory in Cuba.

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