Fowler Talks: Komfa and the Ritual Embrace of Shaded Heritages
Join us to celebrate Mashramani—Guyana’s annual “carnival” commemorating the South American nation’s formal severing of ties with the British Crown—and the Guyanese ritual of dance, drumming, and altar-making called Komfa. The program, led by UCLA scholar Jeremy Jacob Peretz, will explore through the lens of Guyana’s religious material culture how Komfa encourages devotees in “the Land of Six Peoples” to embrace marginalized aspects of their heritage and “shaded” facets of themselves—known in Guyana’s Creolese language as jumbi, or “ghosts.”
This program is generously supported by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.
Jeremy Jacob Peretz is a Lecturer in UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, where he recently earned his Ph.D. in Culture and Performance. In Spring 2021, Peretz will begin teaching in the Department of History and Caribbean Studies at the University of Guyana. His research has focused on intersections of religious and racial politics in the southern Caribbean.
Image credit: Two Komfa shrines dedicated to South Asian (left) and Indigenous (right) ancestors, displayed inside a Spiritualist church in Mahaica, Guyana, 2017.