Other sections feature Bedia's later travels to Zambia. There is also the artist's tribute to Caribbean revolutionary figures who were Palo practitioners and combined their faith with social justice and activism.

Works such as Intipi (Sweat Lodge), created in 1995, reflect Bedia's experiences during his initial visit to the United States, before he was shipped to Angola. It records his first powerful spiritual experience with Native American traditions. "I visited the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota where I met Leonard Crow Dog, a Lakota medicine man and spiritual leader who was involved in the Wounded Knee incident at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation during the 1970s," he says. "The experience in the sweat lodge was very powerful and complicated to explain but dealt with summoning the Great Spirit."

Bedia says indigenous religions, with traditions rooted in prehistory, are the oldest on the planet. "I have seen Crow Dog summon eagles under a cloudless sky until several of the birds appeared from nowhere and began circling overhead. All life force is impregnated with what some call wakan and others call mana. This power endures even after something is dead."

José Bedia's Tunkashila (Grandfather), 1995.
José Bedia's Tunkashila (Grandfather), 1995.

Location Info

Map

Miami Art Museum

101 W. Flagler St.
Miami, FL 33130

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Central Dade

Details

"Transcultural Pilgrim: Three Decades of Work by José Bedia": Through September 2 at Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-3000; miamiartmuseum.org. Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

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While visiting South American shamans and ingesting ayahuasca, a brew made with psychotropic herbs, the artist found himself in the presence of the Otorongo Jaguar and Great Anaconda spirits. "It was a fundamental experience for me," says Bedia, who painted his encounter with the black jaguar. "Anyone interested in visual arts should have such an experience. You see a great many things during these experiences, which I later try to interpret in my work."

As much an anthropologist of the soul as a gifted artist, Bedia peels back the veil on the sacred and unknown with an undeniable force all his own.

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Hester

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