Gallery 210 opens Sacred Symbols in Sequins: Vintage Haitian Vodou Flags February 2014
For many Americans, the term “Vodou” brings up unfortunate Hollywood-inspired imagery involving hexes and curses, but visitors to Gallery 210 new exhibition, Sacred Symbols in Sequins, opening February 8, will gain new insights to the beauty and sanctity of Haitian Vodou after viewing 16 exquisite early to mid-20th century Haitian Vodou flags (drapo Vodou).
The spiritual realm reflected in this exhibition is not the dark, frightening place of black magic and superstition so often stereotyped in American popular culture. Instead, the flags, bottles, hands-on activities exemplify the force and elegance of Vodou gods (lwa). The flags are among the most sacred and expensive ritual implements in the temple (ounfò), and their presence is essential in key Vodou rites, including initiation, invocation of the lwa, and pilgrimage. As intricate works of art informed by ritual and theology, as well as by Haiti’s political history, such flags offer an unparalleled opportunity for viewers to experience the aesthetics, symbolism, and social implications of Vodou.
All of the Gallery 210 events are free and open to the public. Public Parking for Gallery 210 is available at the South Millennium Parking garage on the East side of East Drive on the UMSL campus. Handicapped parking is available behind Gallery 210.
This exhibition is supported in part by grants from the Regional Arts Commission and the Missouri Arts Council with additional assistance from the Center for the Humanties at UM-St. Louis.
Gallery 210 is on the University of Missouri-St. Louis at 44 East Drive, TCC between the North UM-St. Louis Metro Station and Touhill Performing Arts Center. The Gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11:00am to 5:00pm. The Gallery 210 phone is (314) 516-5976; the fax is (314)516-4997; and the email is email@example.com. For parking locations, directions, and campus map please visit http://gallery210.umsl.edu.
Sacred Symbols in Sequins illustrates the essence of Vodou as interpreted by practitioners, and the flags challenge us to rethink outsider conceptions of Haitian popular religion. The exhibition is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. ExhibitsUSA sends more than 25 exhibitions on tour to more than 100 small- and mid-sized communities every year. Mid-America is the oldest nonprofit regional arts organization in the United States. More information is available at www.maaa.org and www.eusa.org.
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(skull and cross bones)
Gede (Guede) Nibo
Late 20th century
Cotton, beads, pearls, thread, and fringe
32 1/2“ x 33 1/2“
Courtesy of Thomas Schultz Collection
Photo: EG Schempf