"I’m thrilled to be part of this exhibition, as this is a recognition that myself and other black Brazilian women who practice Afro-Brazilian religion have come a long way in conquering space and respect, though there is still a long way to go.
My voice is being heard and my steps are reaching new heights through the intersectional identity I represent, reaffirm and carry with me everywhere I go. For a long time, as a Black woman, I was silenced and subordinated to standards that did not support me and, as a Ialorixá, Candomblé and Umbanda practitioner, I was often misjudged and even condemned. Slowly, things are shifting. Being present at spaces such as WOW and others international outlets prove that we’re here to challenge preconceptions and making our voices being heard. We are nurturing and planting in rich soil our black, afro diaspora identities and results are coming. We are blooming. There is no turning back, because we are also women of the world."
Celina Rodrigues (also known as Mother Celina of Xangô) is a cultural leader, race activist and Ialorixá, the name given to priestess of Umbanda and Candomblé, Afro-Brazilian religions that are major religious expressions of the African Diaspora in Brazil. Until this day, Candomblé and Umbanda are seen as marginalised religions in the country, strongly linked with the structural racism and discriminatory legacy from colonial slavery in Brazil. Celina is nationally renowned for keeping black diaspora traditions and identity alive through activism, workshops, talks and courses and is the Director of Cultural Centre Little Africa in Rio de Janeiro, a space created to capture and keep African diaspora cultural legacy alive.