Regla María Apezteguía, Conservator

Items for conservation, including: female saint figure on left, San Lazaro on right

Items for conservation, including: female saint figure on left, San Lazaro on right
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I previously discussed Regla a little bit in another gallery post a few months back. In this post I wanted to present some of her conservation work.When she’s not making new items–usually for Regla de Ocha practices, she’s often repairing religious art objects for her clientele. She’s done this throughout the ‘Special Period’ in Cuba, and she survives reasonably.  I saw her in 2014, and she’s still doing well.

I’ve held off featuring these images for a while because, well, most of the figures are undressed! It’s not the nudity, though. These really aren’t the best images, and it didn’t make sense to have them in the 2014 book. However, the significance of conservation is interesting.

I do want to clarify here that it’s really not bad luck among Afro Atlantic practices, at least in Cuba and Puerto Rico with which I’m most familiar, for people to break or discard saint figures or spirit dolls. People who can afford it often replace these items. What’s interesting is that these objects are so well loved that the owner seeks out Regla to fix them. And then bring them home and, for those figures that need it, dress them nicely. Usually, as I discuss in the book, that means historical period clothing for the spirit dolls.

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