Sacred objects: From police evidence to museum pieces
"Do you know what happened to our things that were taken by the police?", her aunt, a Candomblé leader called Mãe Meninazinha de Oxum, would ask other people who visited the terreiro, the place where followers of Afro-Brazilian religions gather to worship. Art historian Arthur Valle says the racist worldview at the time meant that Afro-Brazilian religions such as Candomblé were viewed not as a religion but as "Charlatanism". Maria Helena Versiani, a historian and museologist at the Museum of the Republic, says the input from the religious commission is key because Afro-Brazilian religions have a very strong oral tradition. Mãe Nilce hopes it will prove educational for those who know little about her religion and also combat the still deeply ingrained intolerance against it. Afro-Brazilian religions may no longer be considered criminal but even today its practitioners are sometimes targeted by extreme evangelicals which condemn them as "Evil" and "The devil's work". Gangs have also been known to drive out followers of Afro-Brazilian religions from their places of worship or even from their homes. "I hope kids visit and learn about religious discrimination. No-one is born prejudiced against certain religions. It's important that people really get to know our religions."