Art Exhibition: “Kafou—Haiti, Art and Vodou”

The Nottingham Contemporary is hosting a major exhibition, “Kafou: Haiti, Art and Vodou,” from October 20, 2012 to January 6, 2013 in Nottingham (next to the Lace Market Tram Stop) in Nottiinghamshire County, England. Related events to be held at the art center are “Vodou: Lineaments of the Lwa” a presentation by Leah Gordon (October 23, 2012) and “The Zombie Metaphor,” talk and screening by John Cussans (November 6, 2012).

Description: We present a major exhibition of Haitian art, the UK’s first for many years. Nearly 200 paintings, sculptures and sequin flags by 35 artists from the 1940s to the present day trace the representation of Vodou, reflecting Haiti’s historical experience through the supernatural.

Haiti is especially known for the art of its urban and rural poor. The label “naive” has often been applied to it, but doesn’t do it justice. The imaginative power and visual intricacy of these artworks reflect the richness of Haitian history and culture. They are in sharp contrast to the country’s familiar reputation for extreme poverty, natural disaster and political violence.

Haitian art is often at its most extraordinary when inspired by Vodou – a spiritual belief system followed by an estimated 90% of Haitians. With its roots in West African religions, Vodou includes aspects of Catholicism (most of Vodou gods are linked to Catholic saints), Islam, European folklore and freemasonry, as well as the religion of the island’s Taino people, who were almost wiped out by the first Spanish settlers. This fusion reflects the history of a small nation at the centre of the Atlantic World.

Image above: Gerard Fortuné, Un Soldat Romain Tue Un Caïman (Courtesy Collection Galerie d’Art Nader)

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