We did a field trip in one of my seminars to see this exhibition:
In the first few rooms you got a basic overview of the history of Haiti and its people as well as all the typical things one normally associates with the term “vodoo”, the woman who collected all the objects and her story was told and you got to see a couple of videos including people talking about their religion and one was shot in one of the temples in Haiti, showing a ritual. Then there were rooms displaying figures of the major Gods and their symbols as well as typical clothing and flags and everyday objects which are associated with them and their helpers. The major part of the exhibition is about objects originally belonging to the secret society Bizango including a whole army of nearly life-size figures, an altar piece and a collection of giant mirrors. The last room was reserved to photographs of Thomas Kern featuring portraits of Haitians and their world.
Overall I liked the exhibition but to be fair enough: it is a bit creepy. The museum also offers torch tours in the evening and I’d definetely not like to run around these rooms with only a torch and all that objects around. The Bizango army is probably the best example here as I am only a head taller than these figures and as their heads are modulated on real skulls their faces also have something very human about them. The only things I didn’t like were that nearly none of the objects were dated and it seemed way too short for such an interesting topic!
There are obviously a lot of skulls at this exhibition (which is also always mentioned on the description for the pieces!) and one of the girls just realized in the last room of figures that they are real ones and that some of the figures even had real teeth… I have to write two pages over one of the objects, probably going to write about the Zomangay (the cooking pot on three legs 😉) – I can’t help but think it’s cute!