The first iteration of Standing With Papa Legba was presented at the George & Leah McKenna Museum for African American Art in New Orleans, Louisiana. The exhibition featured the work of Vidho Lorville, Ulrick Jean-Pierre, Georges Valris, Eric P. Julien and the late Perrot Barra.
Ja’Tovia Gary’s ‘Sound Rite’ is a short film that documents the life and work of Haitian, Afro-Electronica artist and Vodou priestess Val-Inc.
Concept Video for the Re-Imagining Haiti exhibition initiative. Shot and edited by Michael Cordero.
Standing with Papa Legba: Vodou at the Crossroads
In Haitian Vodou, Papa Legba is the judicial power charged with opening and closing doors between physical and spiritual realms, and the daily circumstances that create static or kinetic situations in our owns lives. It is he who decides who have permission to speak to the loa (deities). It is he who serve as the voice of God. Papa Legba is the first to open and close all ceremonies. The trickster, Papa Legba is gatekeeper of the crossroads. It is here, at the crossroads almost one year after of an earthquake ravaged Haiti that we find the work of contemporary houngans and mambos, of the laborers of roots, magic and the Sacred found in Vodou. Standing with Papa Legba addresses a critical point in Haitian spiritual and sacred art history during which artists are asked to explore the dynamics of ancient African powers in serving as a catalyst for the Haitian Revolution and the post-earthquake desecration of these sacred traditions by evangelical zealots acting out of misinformation, institutionalized racism and fear. Standing with Papa Legba, gives artists an opportunity to explore the power and future of Haitan Vodou, particularly investigating how the spiritual system was at the forefront of Haiti’s socio-political founding. Furthermore, in lieu of increasingly devastating natural disasters, it will be important to contemplate how utilizing an earth-based spiritual practice may slow down and even reverse some of the environmental issues threatening the existence of humanity and the entire planet.
Presented by: Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) and Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA)
Curated by: Shantrelle P. Lewis & Shanté Cozier
On View at MoCADA: January 13 – May 8, 2011
In 1804, newly freed Africans on the former French sugar-producing colony of St. Domingue, declared itself the first Black Republic in the western hemisphere. Less than two decades later, when Denmark Vesey’s plot to stage what would have been the bloodiest African insurrection in American history was stopped, it was discovered that Haiti had promised military support for the South Carolinian African freedom cause. A wave of terror spread throughout the western world, for fear of the influence that Haiti would have on the entire African Diaspora. This fear served as the impetus for western powers to unite and do everything within their capacity to crush this symbol of self-determination economically, politically, and spiritually. Despite this, two major things remained in tact – the culture and spirit of the Haitian people. January of 2011 marks the one-year Anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake that devastated the country of Haiti. As millions of dollars have been pledged from all over the world to support reconstruction, “Re-imagining Haiti: Le Projek Noveau” will give artists the opportunity to examine the historical and socio-political events that led up to the Earthquake, what progress has been made a year later and most important, what solutions can be offered towards the rebuilding and reshaping of Haiti on a political, cultural, architectural and socio-economic level. In addition, artists are asked to submit pieces that attempt to answer the following questions: If the progressive collective were to re-imagine Haiti’s future, how would that look? More importantly, what does victory look like for the Haitian people and the rest of the African Diasporan world? Additionally, what references from Haitian history and literature can be made to reconstruct Haiti?e