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Troi Anderson September 5, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Venezuela.

Healing Ceremony, Mount Sorte, Yaracuy State, Venezuela 2012

Troi Anderson (b.1975, USA) is a fine art, documentary and commercial photographer based in Portland, Oregon. Troi began his career working in film for Magnolia Pictures and later as a Merchant Marine sailing throughout Asia and the South Pacific. He is the author of two books, Shadows of Time and Decay (Mark Batty Publishers) along with numerous photographic essays. His work has been published in Geo France, The Oregonian, Communication Arts, Eyemazing, as well as being profiled and featured twice in Black and White Magazine. His commercial clients include Apple, Nike, HP, and  T-Mobile. He has worked for the humanitarian organization CARE in Haiti. Troi’s photography has been exhibited in the Blue Sky Drawers program, as well as being held in private collections.

About the Photograph:

“Espiritismo, the practice of communication with ancestral spirits through trance possession is found throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. In Venezuela, a mythological goddess figure of ancient indigenous legend -Maria Lionza- is the focal point for gatherings in the mist-laden jungle of Mount Sorte. This magico-religious movement is composed in perfect reflection of Venezuela’s own multicultural history. It is a syncretic, mestizo blending of African, Spanish and Indian traditions and beliefs. Theatrical healing ceremonies and colorful pageantry blend wildly to bring forth a knowledge of the esoteric passed down through spiritual caravans, pilgrims, known as the Marialionceras.”

“For the past several years I have embarked on a process to discover and document the religious desire and its elemental expressions throughout the world. This photograph focuses on a group of Marialionceras, who have gathered before a makeshift alter in contemplation and to pay tribute to Venezuela’s national heroes, Simon Bolivar, Jose Antonio Paez and Francisco de Miranda. One of the key elements in the practice of Maria Lionza is the smoking of the cigar. It is both an invitation to the spirits, as well a method to invoke introspection in the participant. There are dozens of these alters throughout the jungle, each created for a specific spirit or power. Before President Hugo Chavez died, I was told by many at this pilgrimage that ‘if he dies, then his Spirit will be here next. It was rumored that Chavez, himself a follower of Maria Lionza, had dug up the bones of Latin America’s great liberator, Simon Bolivar, and was using them in his own magical ceremonies.”