The People of the Loa: Creative exploration of Haitian Vodou
The "People of the Loa" project embodies the re-discovery, and interpretation of narratives created in regard to the practice of Haitian Vodou. Through the exploration of ritual, fragmentation and cultural adaptations I traverse the line between stigma and reality seeking to find my place in the history of colonization, and survival that ignited the religion of Haitian Vodou. While keeping a respectful distance I’ve adapted my practice to the culture of ceremony, and symbolism found within this religious practice. Painting becomes meditation, and the carving and manipulation of wood becomes prayers. I have sought ways to break the surfaces on which I render, as well as the paint that I render with. I have been exploring the nuances of ceremonial attire and color through the use of fabric, and select forms of collage.
Ritual has become the primary focus while producing work, and my desire to better understand what that means in the context of my Haitian parentage has lead to a somewhat sporadic approach to my practice. The religion of Haitian Vodou adapts to the practitioners circumstance, lifestyle, and access to resources, and as an inadvertent practitioner, or better yet, an art practitioner who centers Haitian Vodou, I have adapted occurrences, and rituals to the paintscape of my practice. My goal is not only to create a cohesive body of work that stands as a solid representation of various aspects of Haitian Vodou as a religion, but to also have create a microcosm of this religious practice through my work. It is this immersion that will bring forth a living body of work that, with success, will be more of an experience than just a viewing of art.
Personifying the Vèvè
Vèvès personally constructed in honor of my own spiritual practice. I made each one considering the cultures that birthed the symbology of traditional Vèvè making, the Fon of Benin, as well as Igbo, and Kongo tradition to name a few. I have taken this knowledge and I have constructed what I refer to as Vèvè Zansèt, Zansèt meaning "Ancestor" in Haitian Kreyòl, These are Vèvès for specific ancestors of mine.
Through this adaptive practice I seek to dive even deeper into ritual by way of the content of my spiritual practice, and elements of Ancestral worship that is also found in the Haitian Vodou practice.