• 170 pages
  • 10 x 11
  • 74 color illustrations


Os Deuses Vivos da África
Orishas: The Living Gods of Africa in Brazil

Abdias do Nascimento

Abdias do Nascimento's unique painting and poetry deeply immerse the reader and spectator in the religious culture of African origin in Brazil. Orishas and symbols of Yoruba and Central African origin, in their unique Brazilian context, join the deities of Egyptian, Asante, Ewe religions, and the voduns of Haiti. Together with African liberation heroes from all over the world, they interact in a living and dynamic imagery. Outstanding for its unique and unprecedented use of color, Abdias do Nascimento's art enriches and deepens our comprehension of the multiple dimensions of African culture in the world.

This bilingual publication (English and Portuguese) is a tribute to the third centennial of Brazil's Pan-African liberation hero, Zumbi dos Palmares, who died fighting for his people's freedom in 1695. Zumbi symbolizes Afro-Brazilians and their culture, a heritage not only of the African world but of all humanity.

The volume brings together scores of color reproductions of Nascimento's paintings, along with three epic poems and a major essay, all on themes of the Afro-Brazilian people, their religion, and its African origins. The book also contains critical essays by Molefi K. Asante, Muniz Sodré, Roger Isaacs, Joel Rufino dos Santos, Elisa Larkin Nascimento, Ola Balogun, Lélia González, Gerardo Mello Mourão, Guerreiro Ramos, Anani Dzidzienyo, Daniel I. Larkin, and Clóvis Brigagão.

Printed on the finest quality art paper in an oversized 10 x 11" format and packaged in an attractive slipcase, Orixás: Os Deuses Vivos da África features seventy-four full-color plates including ten gatefolds.

Distributed by Temple University Press for IPEAFRO/Afrodiaspora, Rio de Janeiro


"No richer source of the African traditions exists in the Americas than Brazil, with the possible exception of Haiti. Out of the deepest crevices of culture from which comes the life blood of people, Abdias do Nascimento has found the wellspring of his creative power. I salute the reader and viewer of this book, because you have chosen a distinguished work of art."
Molefi Kete Asante, Temple University

About the Author(s)

Abdias do Nascimento is Professor Emeritus, State University of New York at Buffalo, and Doutor Honoris Causa, State University of Rio de Janeiro. Born in 1914 in Brazil, a grandchild of enslaved Africans, Nascimento founded the Black Experimental Theater in Rio de Janeiro in 1944, breaking the color bar in Brazilian theater. In 1968 he founded the Black Arts Museum in Rio de Janeiro. In 1971 he founded the Chair of African Culture in the New World at the Puerto Rican Studies and Research Center, State University of New York at Buffalo, where he taught until 1981. In 1990 he was elected to the Senate seat from Rio de Janeiro and in 1991 he was appointed State Secretary for the Defense and Promotion of Afro-Brazilian Peoples. Nascimento is currently a member of the Rio de Janeiro State Council of Culture and President of the Zumbi memorial, an Afro-Brazilian organization of national scope.