Haitian Vodou Exhibition

October 21, 1998

Source: Newsday

On October 21, 1998, Newsday reported on an exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History entitled, "Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou." The exhibition, which runs through January 3rd, has come to New York as the last stop of a two-year tour. With more than 500 objects, it is the "most exhaustive exhibition ever devoted to the artifacts of voodoo." Vodou art "sanctifies the ordinary" such that mundane objects, like Coke bottles and tin cups, can be transformed into devotional objects. Vodou, which fuses the beliefs and practices of African traditions, Roman Catholicism, Freemasonry, and European occultism, began to form when African slaves were imported to Hispaniola from 1680 to 1791. During that time, the slaves began to merge their native beliefs with the colonist religions which confronted them. Despite the "much maligned" treatment of the vodou religion in Western culture, the reviewer believes this exhibition "can erase some long-cherished misapprehensions."