Aristides de Oliveira Mascarenhas
photo Magdalena Mądra
Aristides de Oliveira Mascarenhas (born 1957, Brazil) is a spiritual son of Balbino Daniel de Paula (Obarayin of Xangô Aganjú), he was initiated in the temple (terreiro) of his own mother on 8 January 1970, on the island of Itaparica. In 1980, after completing a seven-year obligation, he reached the highest position in Candomblé, Oye (Father). That same year he became Babalorixá of Ilê Axé Opô Ajagunã. In 1997, Mascarenhas, henceforth known as Pai Ari de Ajagunã, became Babalawo, ‘Abimdola teacher’, which is an initiation for ifá. In 2002, during the 7th International Congress of Orisha Tradition in Africa, he received the title of Lei Olú Baba (Sir Father of Fight), an African religious name. After gaining the official recognition of the Candomblé yards within the Ministry of Cults in 2004, he was elected President of the National Federation of the Afro-Brazilian Cults (FENACAB) and held this position until 2008. In 2005, he assumed the post of Oye Babale (religious office), in Mãe Nitinha de Oxum’s yard in Minguel Couto, Rio de Janeiro. He became an honorary citizen of the city of Salvador he was granted the title of honorary citizen of the cities of Lauro de Freitas, Santo Antonio de Jesus and Rio de Janeiro. Currently, Mascarenhas is President of FENACAB, Vice-President of the International Committee of Orisha Tradition, Curator of the Ajagunã Cultural Foundation, and Babalorixá of the Ilê Axé Opô Ajagunã.