December 01, 2011
I began this installation before the devastating earthquake in Haiti, my intent was to illustrate the indomitable spirit of the people. I worked toward dispelling the prevailing misconceptions associated with the spiritual system of Vodou and the ritual objects associated with it. I live in New Orleans and since evacuating to Miami for hurricane Katrina have been living in both. I am enchanted by ritual and all objects connected to them. Through my innumerable explorations I have found great inspiration in “little Haiti” located in Miami and admit am disappointed by the mass produced voodoo dolls sold in New Orleans mostly to tourists encouraging the dissemination of inauthentic objects and misinformation. Digging deeper in New Orleans I found most true practitioners are also discouraged yet generally dismissive of these trinkets sold as voodoo dolls. These token voodoo dolls have no connection to the spirit realm and only feed the widely accepted misinterpretations of the spiritual system. The concept of voodoo dolls is not a part of Vodou; perhaps it is a bastardization of Paket Kongo and Pope dolls both of which are used by a practitioner for healing or as a vehicle to communicate with the spirit world.
I began thinking about the way that children often bring their dolls “to life” with their own focused energy and imagination, giving them a spirit, and in effect transforming them into “Idols”. It is with these reflections I began my own transformation process through the lens of contemporary practice. I determined to reinterpret these “Idols into spirit “Fetishes”. I have participated in a myriad of rituals from a panorama of Spiritual systems including Vodou. I am an initiate of none and come to this as an Artist translating and celebrating cultural identity with reverence. Although I do work with the sacred in most all my installations, I present these pieces from a secular point of view. However I do have a desire to create sacred space in a contemporary art context. I am an innate collector and sometimes refer to my initial process as “the hunting and gathering phase” and all the while, I research to glean morsels of truth and understanding and look to integrate these morsels in my practice even before I begin building. I wish always to honor the spiritual systems I am inspired by and hope to reveal connections otherwise unseen.