Craft Lake City Festival
In the 2018 Craft Lake City Festival, I exhibited and sold vejigante masks made of clay. All proceeds from sales went to benefit Proyecto Matria.
A vejigante is a folkloric character who originated in the Festival of St. James the Apostle in Loíza, Puerto Rico. The characteristic feature of a vejigante is the mask, which is a grotesque horned face made of pasteboard, coconut, gourd, or tin plate.
The masks represent a fusion of the three ethnic groups that make up the Puerto Rican identity: the Spanish conquistadors, the aboriginal Taínos, and the African slaves and immigrants. To the Spanish, the vejigantes symbolized the Moors who — according to Catholic belief — were defeated by a militia led by St. James. However, African slaves fashioned the masks in a style guided by their Yoruba roots as a subtle form of resistance to Catholic religious conversion. To modern day Puerto Ricans, the masks are a symbol of that resistance.