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Catholic saint and mythical figure Mary Magdalene, misunderstood in the eyes of some, is being honored in a new way, through the efforts of visionary artists Tanya Torres and Raquel Z. Rivera, who have spent several years exploring the transcendence of this personage through writing, the visual arts, and music.
On July 21st, the eve of this saint's official feast day, the artists invited “believers, atheists, near-believers, semi-believers, and all or none of the above,” to Saint Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery, famed sanctuary for experimental art in New York City, to take part in a beautiful promise celebration dedicated to the saint.
In her blog, Cascabel de cobre [es], Rivera explains that in Latin America “the promise celebration is dedicated to the honor of the saints and other ‘divine’ entities,” and its Puerto Rican incarnation is “a cheerful gathering that combines plenty of food with music performed by the community”. And that's exactly what it was.
A mass was held first, interspersed with songs from Rivera's CD “Los 7 Salves de la Magdalena”. Afterward, celebrants removed to another space to play, sing, and dance bombas [a traditional Puerto Rican dance of African roots], and salves and palos [a traditional Dominican dance]. There they were received by Torres, who was eager to talk about her most recent works of art inspired by Mary Magdalene, whom some believe was a companion of Jesus.
In Hoy, artista, a blog written by painter Tanya Torres, you will find more about promise celebration events. Here we share some photos taken by two of the guests.