Curated by Danny Simmons and Shantrelle P. Lewis, the art exhibition “American Hoodoo” will open on January 12, 2017, at Rush Arts Gallery, located at 526 West 26th Street, Suite 311, in New York, New York. The show runs from January 12 through February 10, 2017. This exhibition promises to show the links between the spiritual and liberatory practices of southern United States and the broader circum-Caribbean diaspora. [The featured image above, “Marie Antoinette is Dead,” is by Fabiola Jean-Louis, a Haitian-born, Brooklyn-based fine artist and photographer.]
Description: There is much confusion and misinformation about African spiritual traditions, throughout the Diaspora. In recent years, there has been a reawakening and shift in the light that is being shined on African sacred traditions. From Lukumi, Santeria, Ifa, and Vodou, as more and more practitioners initiate and various cultural institutions offer educational programming that introduce audiences to these mystical traditions, a dark veil is being lifted off some of the world’s oldest ritualistic religions. However, there has always been much confusion and misinformation about the spiritual practices consistently acknowledged and maintained by the descendants of enslaved Africans geographically situated in the United States of America.
Hoodoo, according to Dr. Katrina Hazard-Donald “is the folk spiritual controlling, and healing tradition originating among and practiced primarily, but not exclusively, by captive African Americans and their descendants primarily in the southern United States.” With its own musicology, dance forms, herbal medicine, and functional practicality, Hoodoo is indeed a liberatory technology that has long time been embraced and utilized by Black folk for healing, power and freedom. It has been practiced and maintained by healers, clients, truth seekers, spiritists, and those seeking to establish agency within their own realities.
This two venue-exhibition seeks to explore the myriad of ways, artists of African descent are accessing old time technology in their practice, using their art to function, not for art’s sake, but for the expressed purpose of performing magic. “High John the Conqueror Ain’t Got Nothing On Me: American Hoodoo and Southern Black American-centric Spiritual Ways” is one-part superstition, two parts mojo with a dash of storytelling and lots of root workin’.