Steven Loza explores how the iconic aspects of religion transcend mere symbolism with a collection of essays that examine the arts and their relationship to religious belief in three cultural areas of the world: the Mexican mestizo belief in the Virgen de Guadalupe, the West African Yoruba religion's base in a divination system of orishas, and the Sufi sect of Islam's musical/textual practices of devotional ecstasy to God. The essays included here were originally presented at the 2004 international conference 'Towards a Theory for Religion as Art: Guadalupe, Orishas, and Sufi', organized by the Arts of the Americas Institute at the University of New Mexico. While they reflect the interdisciplinary design and dialog of the conference, the essays also reveal that many of the arts are conceptualized cross-culturally, ranging from visual art and poetry to music and dance, and offer comparative studies of their relationships to society, politics, and culture in general.
Steven Loza is professor of ethnomusicology at UCLA, adjunct professor in the department of music, University of New Mexico, and the former director of the Arts of the Americas Institute, UNM. His publications include Barrio Rhythm: Mexican American Music in Los Angeles and Tito Puente and the Making of Latin Music.